SUFFOLK, Va - The Suffolk Public School Board voted for an early release for students every other Wednesday starting November 10. Superintendent John Gordon III says this will lessen the burnout for teachers.
"The one goal during these early release dates is to give teachers back planning time. If the planning time is not there, the achievement will suffer, classroom management issues will go up. Teacher burnout is there, you name it," Superintendent John Gordon III said.
To combat stress on teachers in the classroom, the early release will go through the end of the school year.
"The amount of time teachers have lost for covering classes, losing planning time, they’ve also lost professional learning time," Superintendent Gordon III said.
Reagan Davis, a middle school teacher says educators have had a tough year during the pandemic.
"Educators are under immense pressure and their mental health is not being cared about because they are trying to make sure their students have the best education possible, Davis tells News 3's Leondra Head.
Davis says the pandemic has brought more duties for teachers.
"When we pile on all those tasks that we’ve had to do such as the online learning, blended learning, making videos, trying to re-mediate students at certain, we don’t have enough time to get those things done," Davis said.
One Suffolk parent says he will have to find additional child-care for his kids when they are released early from school every other Wednesday.
"I think they should stay in school. Try to find a baby sitter or maybe a relative that can swing it. But outside of that, I guess it may just be that I have to leave work early," Henry White said, a Suffolk parent.
Davis says he's seen some teachers already leave education due a burnout.
"They’ve reached a point where they say ‘I can find other career paths.’ It's not just for teachers either. Some of our hourly employees, they’re able to find other jobs that pay them more per hour. A lot of folks will go where the money is too," Davis said.
Starting November 10 on every other Wednesday, Suffolk high school students will be released at 12:25 p.m. Middle school students will be released at 11:25 a.m. Elementary school students will be released at 1:15 p.m.