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Back to school plans create challenges for teachers amid pandemic

Teachers across the Carolinas are trying to find balance between serving students and remaining healthy as districts plan to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — School districts across the Carolinas are working to figure out how to safely hold classes in the fall. A huge piece of the puzzle are teachers, who have to balance how to best serve students with keeping themselves and their families safe.

It’s a history lesson in the making.

"This is a game changer,” said Jenny White. 

She’s been in education for 30 years. Most recently, she was an assistant principal with Hickory Schools. The pandemic, and the challenge it's presented educators, pushed her into retirement.

"The timing was just right for me. I would've had a struggle going back, I think, just because of the uncertainty,” said White. 

She said there’s already a teacher shortage and the pandemic could force more people out.

RELATED: Survey: 42% of teachers in South Carolina at heightened risk if they return to classrooms

“I think if you're going to lose folks it’s going to be your most experienced teachers. People who will say you know I’m closer to my retirement, it’s not worth the risk to my health or my families risk,” she said.

She thinks Gov. Cooper made the only choice he could, and while some families and teachers will be unhappy with whatever plan is chosen, it’s important to put on a positive face for the kids.

RELATED: Cooper makes decision on reopening schools, says NC will stay in Phase 2 at least 3 more weeks

“If we ever had a time where parents and schools needed to hold hands and say kumbaya, this is it. We want what’s best for the kids, families want what’s best for the kids. No one wants to see a kid get sick,” said 

RELATED: 'It's hard to get participation' | CMS teachers share concern over back to school plan

She said the teaching they did from March to May was crisis teaching. She knows teachers are creative and kids are resilient but has concerns about equity and funding.

WCNC Charlotte has compiled a list of back to school plans for local districts. 

RELATED: List: School reopening plans

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