Last week, The Outlook reported Alexander City Schools teachers and staff would be receiving a $500 bonus for pandemic-related challenges — not for the past semester, but anticipated challenges in the upcoming semester.
The Alex City Board of Education’s unanimous decision came in the same week that Tallapoosa County Schools awarded bonuses for full- and part-time staff members.
This year, teachers have juggled a series of unexpected hurdles, from the implementation of new virtual learning technologies to staffing shortages from all the coronavirus quarantines, on top of the same fears and uncertainties we’ve all faced during the pandemic. The continuity they’ve achieved in our children’s education deserves far more than mere praise.
The decision also serves as an important reminder, however, that teachers’ battles are not going to end when 2020 does. The second peak in COVID-19 cases we’re currently experiencing in Tallapoosa County has far exceeded the first, while hospitalizations in Alabama are at an all-time high. When classes resume on Jan. 4, teachers will have a lot in store for them. Should cases continue to rise, neither the city nor the county schools have ruled out the possibility of a return to virtual learning.
As with health workers and first responders, it’s easy to become complacent about the amount of effort teachers are having to expend this school year. As with the entire pandemic, however, these issues do not disappear when we stop thinking about them.