2 Teachers Ask for Release Ahead of 2020-21 School Year

SUPERIOR, Wis.– As the Superior School District prepares for the 2020-2021 school year in a hybrid model, two teachers will not be joining them this year as they worry about getting sick from the virus.

Last month, the Superior School District decided its students will spend part of their time in the classroom, and the rest online in a hybrid model.

Students can decide if they want to learn completely online this year, but the teachers don’t have that same choice. Some teachers are making the difficult decision to leave their jobs over concerns of the virus.

With the Superior School District focusing on a hybrid model, it means students can come back in the classroom for the first time since March.

But some teachers in the district are stepping out, citing the risk they would have by being in the building with students.

Diane O’Connell resigned from her position as a reading teacher at Superior High School. She said in her resignation that she wished she could teach for a couple more years but feels nervous coming back to the classroom.

Her resignation letter was read during the meeting.

“I was hoping things would get better and that there would be another option for teaching this fall. I was hoping I would feel safe coming back to school but I don’t,” said O’Connell. “Every day I become more anxious to the point of distraction and end up struggling to complete routine tasks. I worry about becoming sick and when I return to school and also making my family sick.”

Darin Bergsven is a music teacher at Northern Lights Elementary School. He also resigned because he felt there would be too much exposure between his students and himself.

The school board knows this can be a tough time for students, parents, and staff. Members expressed their thoughts on the departures due to COVID-19.

“We have to be somewhat understanding of that. We can’t just ram it down everybody’s throat that ‘this is how it’s going to be.’ everybody has different feelings and reacts to this differently.”

The school board voted unanimously to let both of those teachers out of their contracts.

The school district waived penalties for the teachers who asked to be let of their contracts before August 2. However past that deadline, teachers could face penalties for breaking their contracts early for COVID for whatever reason.

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