Northeast Nebraska teachers push on through COVID-19 challenges

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WYNOT, Neb. (KCAU – A survey conducted by Nebraska State Education Association shows more than 80% of teachers in northeast Nebraska say they are overwhelmed and frustrated.

“This is my 40th year in education and it’s definitely the most different than it’s ever been. I don’t say the stress is a little higher but there’s a lot more things asked of us to do,” said Wynot math teacher Gary Klahn.

He said there’s a lot being asked from teachers right now, like teaching hybrid at a moment’s notice.

“Couple weeks ago, I was in contact with someone that was positive, and so I had to stay home for two weeks, so my students were here in Wynot and I was at home teaching with my kids as well, and so teaching in that environment was pretty interesting, taking care of my four and six-year-old while also trying to teach to 16 to 20 kids at the same time over zoom was challenging,” said social studies teacher Andrew Heller.

He said with the chaos brought on by the pandemic, he does worry, but tries to focus on the needs of his students.

“I think that’s the biggest challenge for anyone, especially for teachers. We do what the health department says and we know those rules change over night sometimes what they recommend one day they change the next day,” said Principal Grant Thorpin.

Thorpin said everyone is overworked. He said he’d liked to see more freedom given to districts, like Wynot, to decide what’s best for teachers and students.

“There’s a lot of push to try and put a uniform blanket rule for the whole state and things that are happening in northeast Nebraska just simply don’t apply to things happening in Omaha or Lincoln area. You have to allow the schools to kind of manage themselves to a point and allow them to work directly with their individual health department,” Thorpin said.

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