SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Northwest Arkansas teachers are coming off their holiday break and some are preparing to head back to the classroom this week.
Springdale teacher, Kyla Gillespie has been concerned about teaching in person during a pandemic since day one, but, she said after this holiday break where students might have traveled or been exposed to even more people than normal, her concerns are not going away.
Gillespie said she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in September and worries she could be at risk for getting the virus again.
Right now, cases in northwest Arkansas are growing. Despite this, Gillespie is expecting to teach even more kids in person this semester compared to last.
This concerns her for several reasons, both inside and outside of the classroom.
“I’m obviously worried about teacher safety and our families but I’m also really concerned with our healthcare system,” she said. “There’s definitely benefits to going back but to what extent are we willing to risk lives or health?”
However, Rick Schaeffer with Springdale Schools said many students are choosing to come back to in-person learning for second semester because they feel safer. He said over 200 students have chosen to come back on campus for second semester.
“Parents are feeling safer about things as they’ve seen our Covid numbers not be very high,” he said. “I think a lot of students just miss being back in the classroom and I think every study shows that you’re gonna learn better in the classroom than you are strictly virtually.”