Home Opinion An open letter from a teacher: please don’t travel

An open letter from a teacher: please don’t travel

Sun Prairie East High School

An open letter to Sun Prairie families,

First of all, I love your child. Teaching is my passion and it gives me purpose. But this year showing up for your kid puts me at risk every day. The physical, emotional, and mental toll is draining. Everyday I put on a show to keep your kid happy, motivated, and engaged. Everyday I fall apart after school.

I know you want to travel and get away from this pandemic that we’ve been living with for almost a full year. Everyone does! This seems like a rare opportunity to give your kid great life experiences during a time that seems very dark. Prices are super cheap. They only have “real” school twice a week. It seems perfect! Leave Wednesday, get back Sunday, send them to school on Monday and Tuesday.

PLEASE, DON’T DO THIS IF YOU ARE SENDING YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL FOR HYBRID LEARNING. Your convenient and affordable trip could impact the rest of my life. Or another student’s life. Or my loved one’s life.

We are seeing kids hospitalized at alarming rates in states where the new strains are spreading. You are exposing me and the rest of the class to all of the germs you encountered on your trip.

I appreciate the extra kleenex boxes, the kind emails, the cute pictures your child draws for me. But sending your child to school with unnecessary exposure cancels all of that out. If you are committed to traveling, I am happy to teach your child online. I will still love them, they will still learn and grow.

I would take a bullet for your child. I know the escape routes and how I could protect them from an active threat. If your kid has a food allergy, I know what foods are safe and what could send them into anaphylactic shock. I know how to administer an epipen. I know the signs of an asthma attack and how to help them with their inhaler. We can bandage up scraped knees.

But I can’t protect them from germs. We wear masks, social distance when possible, and wash our hands. They still have to take off their masks to eat in our classroom. They still play tag and take their masks off outside. Kids sneeze and don’t have perfect hygiene skills. I still have to tie their shoes and zip up their coats and help them open their water bottles. With more students coming back this week, I can’t even keep their desks six feet apart.

We aren’t safe. Please, don’t make it any more dangerous than it already is.


A Sun Prairie Teacher

Note: We have granted this teacher’s request to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisal for speaking publicly.