Teachers in Richmond, Virginia already need time away from the classroom, according to a local report that said classes will end early on Wednesdays for the next three months.
Teachers, who spent months teaching virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, will use the time for “uninterrupted planning time.”
A Norfolk, Virginia news outlet reported on the development:
The Virginia Beach School Board voted Tuesday night 9-1 to approve the half days after administrators said teachers were facing burnout just two months into the school year.
Even though five-day-a-week in-person learning is nothing new, teachers are having to try to make up for student learning loss on top of dealing with staffing shortages and COVID-19 quarantines. The district is nearly 100 teachers short. Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said just last Friday, there were 1,100 district-wide absences.
“Our teachers are being asked to do more, to cover more, to cover cafeterias, to cover hallways and to cover their colleagues’ classrooms more so than they ever have before,” Spence said in the report. “They are not able to prepare for instruction.”
The plan, which will be affect through December, was described as a midweek “breather.”
“Teachers are struggling to manage the additional workload required to support students who are quarantined or absent,” Dr. Eugene Soltner, chief schools officer, reported at the meeting.
On top of the early dismissals, teachers asked to drop “non-essential” tasks they are expected to do and also for a pay increase.
“Suffolk Public Schools … announced early dismissals every other Wednesday through the end of the year earlier in the month for similar reasons,” the news outlet reported.