That “Immune System Of Steel” Did Not Prevent This Teacher From Getting COVID-19

“If you’ve been a school teacher for years, you have the immune system of steel because just like healthcare workers, you are around children all day long who aren’t the best at covering their mouth or nose when they sneeze or cough,” Morrow said. “They’re not good at washing their hands after they go to the bathroom.”

That quote above came from a Sept. 16th press conference in which NC GOP leaders and our State Superintendent-Elect made statements concerning the need to open up schools in the midst of a pandemic.

Never mind the fact that fatalities from COVID-19 on a national level are quickly approaching three times the number recorded in the month of the press conference.

It is what the nurse who spoke the words above said that echoes more loudly to this teacher.

I have been a school teacher for well over 20 years.

I have taught in three large public schools all of which compete in the highest possible classification in athletics. Both schools where I have taught in NC play in 4A. The school where I taught in metro-Atlanta, Georgia is a 7AAAAAAA school.

According to Morrow, my immune system should be not just made of steel, but of adamantium (for you Marvel Comics fans).

I still contracted COVID-19.

In fact, everyone in my house got it. Don’t know how. One child was already home from college. I was teaching students remotely. My son was in school, but he and his teachers were practicing protocols for EC classrooms. My wife has been working from home since the pandemic started. Other than trips to grocery stores and doctor visits with masks, it is hard to pinpoint where it entered our house.

One of those doctor visits was for my annual checkup and physical. Other than my need to lose weight, my vitals were very positive and blood work came back better than it has in a few years.

Comparatively speaking, I think we all had a “mild” case. But, it still kicked my butt. Still is actually.

Senses of smell and taste did disappear for a while. That feeling of a fierce cold starting in the head and quickly going to the lungs has weakened considerably. There was a week where my voice was an octave lower than usual. There was low energy and that feeling of never getting a full breath.

And I still taught my classes. Not that I was out to prove how tough I was, but out of necessity. How on God’s green Earth was I to prep a sub or put together lesson plans virtually without already putting in all of the work I would have just teaching as if nothing was happening?

The students were gracious and concerned. In fact, they were a big part of the healing.

But the fatigue is lingering still.

I’ve had the flu and some bad colds. This was/is different.

We have lost educators in this state due to COVID-19. Some of them were younger and in better shape than I am. Every time I see our school system’s COVID -19 Dashboard I know full well that the cases chronicled in those data tables are self-reported, and due to HIPAA laws, not much info can be shared with others. It’s hard to trust that too much.

But I and other veteran teachers have “steel” immune systems according to Mrs. Morrow.

I wonder if over three months later, she would still publicly give those same statements.

And I wonder if our State Superintendent would stand on stage with Ms. Morrow if she still stood by her assertions.