DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO13) — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last week she will override local school districts and require students to spend at least half of their education time in classrooms, despite concerns the move could endanger children and teachers as the number of coronavirus cases increases in the state.
Since the governor’s announcement, Iowa educators have been sharing their frustrations online. A handful of educators have decided to send a morbid message to the governor by drafting their own obituaries.
“I wrote my obituary just to bring attention to Kim Reynolds not having a plan and not knowing anything. I hope to God not to use it and I don’t expect to, but it’s just one of those things where I want people to think about it. This is serious,” said Jeremy Dumkreiger, a Sioux City educator.
Dumkreiger has been an art teacher for about six years and says the idea to write his obituary wasn’t just to make a political statement but because he has genuine fears about going back to school.
A handful of other teachers have done the same, but Dumkreiger says he does not expect many to join in on the sobering experience. He is pleading for the Iowa Department of Education to mandate face coverings for schools before they return to class. He is not just worried about his personal health with in-person classes, but he is concerned for his students’ mental health as well.
“What if one of those kids gets COVID and takes it home to their grandma or their parents and that parent dies. Can you imagine the stress and trauma that will cause on somebody?” said Dumkreiger. “I can’t imagine this learning environment is going to being conducive to learning and I think we’re going to need to hire more counselors.”
Dumkreiger and a handful of other teachers who joined in are sending their obituaries to the governor and are asking again to mandate masks if classes have to be in-person.