I’m Thankful My School District Allows Me to Teach from Home

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by Michael Casten |

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social distancing, e-learning, puppy, busy

Ella will be entering fifth grade this fall. We opted for the online learning model at school, but right after we submitted our request, school officials announced that the entire district would be doing online learning.

We were relieved that Ella will be in a safe environment. Having SMA type 2 puts her at a higher risk of becoming very ill from COVID-19.

I am a teacher in Elmhurst District 205 in Illinois. I have been there for 20 years and have taught fourth grade the entire time. Recently, district officials announced they would conduct a hybrid version of teaching. This meant that students would have rotated into the classroom two days a week, while studying online the rest of the week.

This presented a problem for our family. Although Ella would be home and safe from COVID-19, I would still be out in the world, specifically at school, where there are germs. If I brought COVID-19 home, it could be disastrous for Ella. 

Ella’s mom, Lindsay, also is immunocompromised. She battled an aggressive infection in her foot for four years. The end result was her losing the lower half of her right leg to an amputation. Doctors classified her as immunocompromised because she couldn’t fight off the infection on her own. Bringing home germs would not only be detrimental to Ella, but also to Lindsay.

Following my principal’s advice, I emailed the head of human resources in our school district and explained our family’s situation. Within two days, district officials advised me I would be allowed to teach remotely for the students who had opted for the remote model. 

So, I will be teaching students from my home school along with others from the district who opted for remote learning. More importantly, I won’t be exposed to the many germs that likely will be present in my school. I will still teach fourth grade, and will work closely with my team.

The manner in which I teach will be different, but I’m up for the challenge.

During this time, it is so important to be cognizant of each family’s personal journey. I feel fortunate that officials in my district have allowed me to stay at home and fulfill my teaching obligations while keeping my family safe. 

When I came home from the meeting with my principal, Ella asked me what would happen. When I told her I would be teaching from home, she let out a resounding, “Yay!”

Despite the challenges we face every day, I am happy I get to do my job and protect my family first and foremost. 


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