This spring parents unexpectedly got a taste of what we Texas educators truly do in our jobs. While we deeply appreciated the sudden praise, we knew it wouldn’t last. It didn’t.

We now are hearing cries that we must go back to in-person learning, that it has to happen “for the kids.”

Not one mention of educators.

Where did the appreciation for teachers go? Where is the appreciation and consideration for their safety? In fact, given Texas’ spike in COVID cases where is the appreciation for safety at all?

It’s not lost on Texas educators that school systems are often among the largest employers wherever they are located. With the demise of the American factory system schools have quietly been epicenters of business for decades. So as cries about the economy have grown, it’s unsurprising calls to reopen schools have grown with it.

Overlooked, as usual, are the educators charged with making lemonade from the lemons. In this case, the lemons can be deadly: 20 percent of teachers are aged 55-plus, making them COVID high-risk. That doesn’t even count those with diabetes or other health conditions.

The Texas Education code requires a safe environment for students to learn in. If every step isn’t taken to prevent the spread of COVID, we shouldn’t be expected or required to teach in-person. We want to teach, but our lives are worth more than money. Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and every school superintendent should show that through their concrete actions, not useless words.

Richard Beaule

Harker Heights