AFTER being laid off following the closure of schools early last month due to the threat presented by COVID-19, several teachers from a private high school in St Catherine are lamenting that they do not know how they will survive in the months ahead.
In fact, a few have said the uncertainty surrounding how they will eat and pay their bills is taking a mental toll on them.
“I work at a private institution and was laid off from my job without pay because of the coronavirus outbreak. With the cases in the parish rising almost daily, the end of this doesn’t seem near, and that would mean more months without pay,” one of the teachers, who did not wish to be named, told the Jamaica Observer on Monday. “I have my children to feed, bills to pay, loans to pay… I am just not seeing any light at the end of my tunnel.”
The educator, who had joined the teaching staff at the institution in September, said she is hoping that the Government will provide some sort of relief in the near future.
Another schoolteacher, who was also laid off and spoke on condition of anonymity, has a short-term plan to help him get by while COVID-19 continues its infectious march across the island.
“I got paid last month but come Friday, I won’t be paid. I plan to use my savings to get by, but I’m not sure how long that will last as this virus doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon,” he said.
“I can’t imagine what will happen to some families during this time. Not all teachers are able to save as they have to make the meagre salary stretch to do several things.
“We can’t even pick up another job to ease the burden, as no one is hiring at this time and the parish is currently locked down. I don’t even know what to say; all I know is there are some very hard times ahead. It nah guh pretty,” the educator, who has been teaching for four years, added.
Another teacher from the same institution is praying for the best outcome.
“A group of teachers and other staff members were let go from the school… We can’t leave the parish, there are no other jobs at this time, and we are just trying to hold on to hope and just praying for the best,” the teacher said.
A fourth teacher, who is a single mother, admitted to having very little money saved.
“I’m not sure how I will make it through. I don’t have that much saving, I am a single mother and I try to do the best with what I have, she said. “I was hoping that corona[virus] would be on the decline by now, but it is quite the opposite.
“It doesn’t seem as though face-to-face classes will even resume for this school year. I haven’t figured it out yet,” she noted, adding, “but I am trusting that God will see me through.”
She educator said she could not blame the school administrators for the situation in which she now finds herself.
“I can’t even be upset at the school administration because if the parents don’t pay, we don’t get paid, and right now a lot of people are out of jobs,” she reasoned.
Schools are scheduled to resume today with distance learning/homeschooling.
— Shanae Stewart
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