dallas isd

Plan to Return to Classrooms Must Include Substantial Input From Educators, Dallas Teacher Says

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Dallas ISD leaders are in the process of formulating a health and safety plan for when students are allowed back into the classroom.

Seagoville Middle School science teacher Rahmatu Kassimu said based on the current data, she’s not sure when she’ll feel comfortable returning to school. But she said she recognizes the start of the school year is critical.

“That’s when you’re like creating relationships,” Kassimu said. “You’re getting classroom culture. You’re getting procedures done.”

She misses her students at Seagoville Middle School and she’s concerned for their education, but can’t fathom a plan that could safely bring them back to campus any time soon.

“A classroom without kids is both loveless and lifeless,” she said. “But I would rather their presence not be there physically than them not be here physically.”

Proposed changes within the district include temperature checks, social distance markers and mandatory face coverings. But Kassimu said she is skeptical.

“We can’t get adults to follow directions. But you want the kids to. You expect the kids to do this for eight hours?” she said. “We sometimes have 20 or 30 kids in a classroom. How are we supposed to social distance?”

Kassimu said she is in what’s considered the "vulnerable population" and is the caretaker for someone considered vulnerable as well. She’s had conversations with colleagues who are hoping for the best but planning for the worst.

“There are also teachers who have this mindset and who have started updating their wills, or who have started making sure that life insurance policies are set because they are worried about their families,” she said.

Kassimu said she feels teachers are often left out of decisions that impact them the most. She wants public health and school officials to get the input of educators prior to solidifying a plan to return to the classroom.

“No teacher should be put in a position to choose between the job that they love and their passion and their career and pouring into children and being safe," she said.

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