Do online lessons force teachers to work when sick?

One teacher suggests that the use of online lessons in the pandemic could spell the end of the sick day
7th December 2020, 12:41pm
Catherine Lough

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Do online lessons force teachers to work when sick?

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/do-online-lessons-force-teachers-work-when-sick
Coronavirus: Could Online Learning Mean The End Of The Teacher Sick Day?

Most teachers have done it - crawled into work sick when they should really have spent the day under the duvet.

You wake with burning sinuses and streaming eyes, scarcely able to speak, only to think, "No, I can't ring in - Year 11 are covering quadratic equations/Macbeth's soliloquy/Ohm's law [insert similar]." 

Pleasingly, your most fractious class will become strangely amenable that day - the child who usually attempts to derail Year 9 period 5 silencing their peers with a fierce, "Ssh! Can't you see? Miss is sick!"


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But what if you can't make it in? Will virtual teaching during the pandemic make sick days a thing of the past?

One US teacher suggests so in a TikTok video attracting thousands of likes.

No more teacher sick days?

"I was literally in hospital half the day yesterday," the caption reads over a picture of Cassidy Pope looking bleary-eyed in bed. "And today I'm teaching from home," she adds.

"I'm not about to hold a full class which is teacher-directed while feeling like this," she asserts. "So online interactive it is!"

@mrs_pope

Woke up feeling worse than when I went to bed. Still a lot better than when I was in the hospital, but still not 100% #virtualteacher #tiktokteacher

♬ Spongebob - Dante9k

And others have reported how teachers are still delivering classes remotely despite poor health caused by the coronavirus.

Our 9yo's teacher tested positive and is still doing her online teaching while clearly very ill. My partner and I feel terrible for her as we can completely understand why she's still teaching even though she has her own 2 at home and is coughing through the calls and videos. ?

- Melanie Gail (@melanietutors) November 19, 2020

However, another teacher described the ability to teach from home while feeling ill as a "silver lining"

Silver lining of online teaching... Any other year I'd have to be home sick today due to IBS. But since I can teach from the couch in yoga pants with heat packs everywhere and time for bathroom breaks, I didn't have to use a sick day!

- Myriah Seavello (Maxwell) (@RiahRhymesWith) November 30, 2020

Nonetheless, as Ms Cassidy points out, "no more sick days" could be an unwitting result of the move to online teaching during the pandemic.  

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