PERRYSBURG — Pandemic burnout among teachers and staff was reported as an emerging issue at the Monday school board meeting.
Much like many of the students and parents, while employees have reported being “grateful” and “happy” to be back to class, concerns have been reported.
Superintendent Tom Hosler said that signs of burnout among employees are emerging, including exhaustion and high stress levels.
“What we’re hearing from staff members, a lot of staff members, is ‘We’re just exhausted. We’re not sure if we can continue this pace.’ Thinking about that is a concern of ours, because we’ve changed their days significantly. So in our elementary buildings, for example. Especially there, they’re with students a lot longer than they were last year, before COVID,” Hosler said. “There isn’t that time to do what adults need to do, like go to the bathroom, call a parent back or answer their emails, and all those kinds of things. So this has really created a lot of stress.”
Hosler noted that there are two different groups of employees.
There are those who returned from a summer off that are having to do more work than usual, because of the mix of both virtual and face-to-face classes. One staff member related that being off since March is the longest they had been off in over 30 years.
The second group are employees who never left. They would have normally taken vacation time in the summer, but instead had to prepare for a completely different looking school experience in the first semester.
“We’re continuing to work on what we can do to help with that. What can we do to help support those teachers who are having those feelings? And there aren’t a lot of options, but we want to work together with the teachers, to find out what it is that we can do,” Hosler said.
He also pointed out that many parents are asking, “What might happen next?”
He admitted that the administration does not know. Many of the decisions have been taken out of their hands, or have been delivered with little time to implement them.
There were numbers to support some of these issues.
There were 19 staff members who did not return to the district, reportedly due to coronavirus concerns. There were 98 staff members who saw reductions in hours. Meanwhile, there were also 260.5 administrative days worked unpaid for the 2019-20 school year.
In other business Monday, the board heard that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently announced that all school districts can offer free breakfast and lunch meals to all students each school day.
The district will start the free meal program on Tuesday. The meal program is covered through USDA funds allocated because of the pandemic. This meal program will last until Dec. 31, or while the USDA funds are available.
Monthly menus are available here: http://www.perrysburgschools.net/ChildNutritionServices.aspx.
Menu items are subject to change due to availability.
The district has also been working on the following areas:
• Bus evacuation drills, ALICE and fire drills. The school district’s Safety Committee and Parent Safety Task Force met.
• Perrysburg City invited the school district to participate in study of growth.
• Perrysburg Virtual Academy individual student assessments are under way in grades 1-2 and school liaisons have been guiding home learning coaches.
• The Perrysburg Foundation is working with other school support organizations to help with fundraising efforts for students
• New Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Robison is meeting with area superintendents.