Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Labor and Industry
Safety and Health Codes Board
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2/19/22  7:30 am
Commenter: Jennifer

End mask mandates for all teachers

Good morning-

I’m writing to you as a second teacher who has never seen her students or her own mental state in such disarray. My students have never seen me smile And up until recently I have never seen their faces. This makes it very difficult teaching such a young age. It is a time where they are learning language, learning how to express themselves, and learning how to read the nonverbal cues of others. I realize that many of my students lack these skills. It is difficult when my face is covered when I’m trying to teach them. They have difficulty hearing letter sounds or just understanding what I have said. I have watched students get frustrated and shut down. I had a student recently ask me if I could stop wearing my mask. I told her no at this time all teachers were required to. When my county decides that it is time to follow through with their plan vaccinated teachers will be able to take their masks off and I will not. I made the choice based on medical reasons after talking to my doctor do not take the vaccine. So how do I look at this child and tell her the way it looks now I will forever be in a mask? How do I tell her that it is OK for her other teachers who are vaccinated, but out sick with Covid not have to wear theirs?  How do I explain to her that I have already been infected, recovered, and still showing strong antibodies a long time after having it? How do I tell her that I will be signaled out by colleagues and parents, as soon as they all know my status? I don’t tell her. I don’t tell her that I have horrible anxiety for not only what they have had to endure, but what I have. The backlash that I had gotten based on my own personal choices, no one should have to deal with. I’m at the point where I’m starting to question a career that I love. Please take into consideration ending the  mandate for all teachers. We are tired from all that has been going on and all we want to do is teach. Thank you for your time.

CommentID: 119714