MINNEAPOLIS — The Long Prairie Grey Eagle school district decided Monday night that the district will switch to the distance learning model.
This decision comes after a long meeting that turned quite sour, according to one teacher.
"I'm going to cry right now," Long Prairie 5th grade teacher Jessica Housman said. "It's mean what they're writing. It's very hurtful."
After a four and a half hour school board meeting Monday night, Housman said she was appalled at the comments some parents and some community members made on social media about the district's decision.
"They are saying very harsh, hurtful things that teachers are being selfish, [that] we just want to work from home and making outlandish remarks," she said. "It's very hard to read. Finally, now that I have caught COVID, I'm not sitting back and listening anymore. It's time to speak up. This disease is real."
So Housman took to Facebook to make a video. In it, she was frank.
"Every single day we show up for your kids in person," she said in the video. "That's where I want to be - in school - safely. In Minnesota, if positive COVID cases are to reach 50 per 10,000 people, it is recommended to switch into distance learning. Todd County is at a 150."
Tuesday, Housman pointed out that the number is now at a 160 per 10,000 people. She said all this through moments of catching her breath because both COVID and the baby are taxing her lungs.
"The baby is pushing on my lungs making it hard to breathe," she said. "Every breath I take takes so much effort and it's terrifying."
In terms of what her OBGYN has instructed her about recovering from COVID while pregnant, Housman said there were still so many unknowns.
"I have an at-home device where I can measure my oxygen levels," Housman said. "Even though I am struggling to breathe, I know the baby is getting oxygen. It's still up in the air. There is not enough evidence to show the long-term effects or potential to go into early labor."
Despite all of this, Housman said her students - the other babies in her life -matter to her so much. Although it is not ideal, she is begging for patience from the parents who might be upset.
"Parents who are going through a tough time - we hear you," Housman said. "We feel you. Your kids are our kids. We want to be in the classroom. That is our first choice always. Unfortunately, this pandemic is forcing us into a unique situation that no one asked for. We don't want it. You don't want it. But we need to be safe and we need to be healthy to be able to teach your kids. Right now it's just not safe."
Housman said she is calling her baby their miracle baby. She said the baby is the one that came along after 10 years of trying with her husband. Housman is due in the beginning of February.
Long Prairie Grey Eagle schools start distance learning next week.