COVID-19 has ravaged a number of industries and professions across the globe. Most notably, education systems have been greatly altered during the coronavirus pandemic. In Chicago, teachers and administrators are faced with a number of tough decisions regarding the pandemic as the city's public school system pushes for in-person teaching.
One of the many teachers put in a tough position by the pandemic is Dwayne Reed. The young, Black teacher is not only focused on his students, but he's also focused on one of the most important moments of his life, the birth of his first child. As his wife progressed through her pregnancy, Reed requested that he continue to work from home with the hope that he would not pass COVID-19 off to her and their child. Unfortunately, school administrators denied his request. Chicago Public Schools are reportedly only allowing teachers with underlying medical conditions to work from home. Hoping to keep his job while keeping his wife and child safe, Reed decided to set up shop on school property as required. However, there's one minor detail. He's teaching his students virtually while sitting in front of the school. Photos show Reed sitting at a desk with his laptop while snow falls upon him.
Unfortunately, Reed's story is not all that unique. Fellow Chicago Public School teacher Shavon Coleman also requested to work remotely because she lives with her daughter and mother who have underlying medical issues. Much like Reed, her request was denied because she, herself, did not have any underlying medical issues.
“I don’t care how old you are or how young you are, there’s nothing worse than losing a child or mother,” she told WBEZ, while referring to her aunt who died from COVID-19 last year.
Another unnamed teacher said that she wasn't sure if she would be able to work from home despite living with her mother who is suffering from stage four cancer. Making matters worse, the school allegedly lost her paperwork and asked that resubmit it to be considered for remote work.
“After all these years of service — I have given 27 years of my life as an employee,” the teacher said.
“You wouldn’t believe how this weighs on my heart.”
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