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Teachers taking on multiple roles as pandemic reshapes how schools function

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SCHOOLS WEB

(WBNG) -- Teachers like Maine-Endwell high school teacher, Rachel Murat, say they've had to widen their skills when adapting to the new school reopening plans.

Over the past few decades, schools have seen big changes. Teachers now have to be good at using various technology, handling mental health situations, and even being trained in active shooter drills.

"We do more than what necessarily a teaching position is," said Rachel Murat, M-E High School teacher and Teacher of the Year. "We're social workers, we're guidance counselors, we're surrogate parents. We do a lot of things outside of what maybe someone would think is a role of a teacher."

Now, they have to take on even more roles, such as now being trained in following state guidelines of pandemic safety as well as having to identufy COVID-19 symptoms and act quickly to prevent a spread.

"It's been a learning experience for sure. I know that a lot of parents, teachers, students had to adjust to new roles," said Murat as she discussed everything that changed in the spring semester of school.

Murat says overall, she has many concerns about returning to school. She says many teachers suffer from autoimmune disorders and are afraid of putting themselves and their families at risk everyday as essential workers.

Murat also addressed a temperature check issue. She says her school building doesn't have air conditioning. If students or teachers walk outside in the hot weather, get their temperatures checked at the door and have a high temperature, they may be turned away even if they don't actually have the virus.

Most importantly, Murat says she's concerned fewer people would want to take on education jobs like teachers because of how daunting the new way of teaching has been lately.

"We do have a teacher shortage and if we do not do something about that, we're in huge trouble in about five to ten years," said Murat.

Several schools throughout the Southern Tier have released their reopening plans, but things could still change as more information is released every day about the coronavirus. Governor Cuomo is expected to release his plan for New York schools the first week of August.

Anne Sparaco

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