Iowa teachers write, send obits to governor in response to schools reopening
The Hawkeye State are set to reopen schools at the end of August, but without a plan, teachers believe they are being sentenced to their death
Several Iowa educators are writing mock obituaries of their lives and are sending them to Governor Kimberly Reynolds ahead of schools reopening.
“I’m very scared,” 7th-grade teacher Kerry Finley of Iowa City told Good Morning America.
“Are we going to wear scrubs? Are they going to amend the dress code? If we are going to do this, we are going to have to do this the way the hospitals did. We need training. We can’t just say, ‘OK, go back.'”
In a report from ABC News, Finley noted that they were inspired after an art teacher named Jeremy Dumkrieger shared his own obituary with a local news blog.
“I think what we were trying to do is humanize us in her mind, make her see us as people,” Finley said.
“I’m very worried. I’m a breast cancer survivor and I have some compromised immune system,” Finley said. “I’ve only been a teacher for one year. Children can’t learn unless they’re in an emotionally-stable and safe environment.”
Iowa schools are set to reopen at the end of August, however, teachers are disturbed that the governor has issued no guidance on how schools will reopen. “That means every district will have completely different plans,” Dumkrieger said, “Some will wear masks, some will not.”
The obituaries were prompted by a July 24 press conference where Reynolds said that schools must “prioritize” in-person learning.
A spokesperson for the governor said that getting students and teachers back to school safely is an important part of the state’s coronavirus recovery plan.
“Her proclamation helps implement the statute the legislature passed unanimously this summer and also gives flexibility and options for educators, schools, parents, and students,” said Pat Garrett.
“Writing your own obituary reflects on who you are, what you’ve been, and who you want to become. It’s sobering for sure,” Dumkrieger said.
There’s have been more than 40,000 cases of coronavirus in Iowa, and just this week, the state reached a new daily high of diagnoses at 232.
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