Two Superior Teachers Quit Over COVID-19 Worries
By now most public schools in around the Northland have announced their plans for the upcoming school year - with reopening plans dictated largely by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's those concerns that will see two less teachers in the Superior school district when students come back in September.
The Superior School Board accepted the resignations of five teachers at their most-recent meeting on August 10 - two of which specifically mentioned their concerns about COVID-19 as the reason behind their decision. The teachers in question are from the Superior High School and Northern Lights Elementary School.
In one case - the teacher from Northern Lights Elementary - the concern was based on the large number of students she comes in contact with throughout the day. Her position was a specialist - teaching music - and she had broad contact with most of the students in the building. The other teacher - at the high school - teaches in the English department. She cited that she worries about getting sick and also getting her family sick.
All five of the teachers - the two citing COVID-19 and the other three who are leaving for other reasons - are being held liable for liquidated damages. According to news sources, those damages vary between "$750 and $1,500 depending on when they made their resignation request." The concept of liquidated damages is foreign to many outside of the education world, but it has become commonplace at most public school school districts and many private schools. Superior School District Administrator Amy Starzecki explains:
“We added liquidated damages to the contract a few years ago to make up for things that we lost out when a teacher left closer to the start of school. [Those items that the district takes a loss on] include[...] their health savings account contribution, the cost to recruit someone for the position and the cost of a long-term substitute teacher."
The Superior School Board did make adjustments to the liquidated damages assessed to one of the teachers; that teacher asked for "leniency" as a result of the unprecedented times we're going through.