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The Great Resignation


“Fear” and “uncared for” are what some professors describe as their daily emotions when walking in their classrooms. Faculty and staff are frustrated with their concerns and ideas over the mask and vaccine mandate.

Lorraine Buchbinder and Cornelia Lambert are two lecturers who worked at the University of North Georgia for years but decided to resign before the fall 2021 semester. Both professors agree that being in a classroom full of students with no masks is putting their health at risk. 

Additionally, professors argue that accommodating each semester to something different can be complicated at times. Although they are given the resources, they say it’s hard to learn the new programs without getting trained by the school. It takes longer to prepare everything virtually. Something that would take up to an hour to get ready in class now takes three hours for everything to run smoothly.

“I would prefer to be with students that wear masks and use hand sanitizer in our classrooms. I have worked with many excellent students this semester that have been out for up to a couple of weeks, struggling to stay afloat and be successful, normally easy for them. I can’t help but wonder if we did more as a community to follow CDC guidelines if they would have remained COVID (and potentially flu) free” said Dr. Chuck Robertson, chair of the faculty senate.

Faculty and staff recommend the community and their students to make the proper research about the virus. If students would take the time and not just rely on social media for their information they would realize that the pandemic isn’t over. Now there is a new virus called the Omicron variant and it’s just as contagious. They recommend that getting the COVID-19 vaccine as well as the booster shot are mitigating strategies, as well as social distancing and washing your hands.

They want students to understand that during this pandemic the action of one individual can harm a whole set of people, especially those with high-risk factors.

“Faculty are focused on providing quality educational experiences to students, and we need our students’ help in making sure this occurs in a safe environment during this ongoing global pandemic.” -Dr. Jamie Mitchem

Although teaching is their passion, at times they feel that putting their safety on the line for a school that doesn’t care about them and a job that doesn’t pay enough isn’t worth it.

The faculty and staff at times know they can’t rely on their students to fill out the self-reporting form so they do it themselves for their students. They know that it’s important to keep the numbers in check so they can prove that mandates around campuses should be required. Now that the new variant has been confirmed we need to keep enforcing the CDC guidelines. “Many people forget that the booster shot reduces the severity of illness. Immunization doesn’t mean you won’t get COVID,” said Dr. Reddy. If you get the booster vaccine and haven’t gotten COVID-19 you have a 30% chance of not getting the new variant, and if you did get COVID-19 and the booster shot you have a 70% chance of not getting Omicron.

Student Brian Palacio agrees with the professors. “Teachers expect to come into their classroom and feel safe. Instead, they’re focusing on what if one of your students has COVID.”

Professors all around the campus are afraid of getting the virus but aren’t able to express their concerns without having some type of repercussion. They aren’t allowed to tell students to wear masks inside their class or even speak about the vaccine. In their meetings with the University System of Georgia (USG) they are always reminded to not discuss these topics with their students or there will be serious consequences. The USG has received complaints from students involving their professors and mask mandates. Professors say it’s hard to not bring up the topic since it’s easy to talk about. 

Maria Calatayud, an associate professor for the Spanish department says she always tries to keep herself and her students safe. “I strongly agree that it should be mandated for students to wear their masks, especially if they don’t want to get the vaccine.” She loves what she teaches and hopes that all her students stay safe. 

All UNG campuses have reported positive COVID-19 cases since Jan. 1, 2022, and to stay informed you can visit Student Health Services.

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The Great Resignation