CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Champaign teachers said they are being stretched thin, and they’re calling on district leaders to do something.

Several teachers said they’re experiencing severe burnout. They said they are not only doing their job of teaching, but they’re having to do several other jobs around the school.

Kim Tate is a fifth grade teacher at the International Prep Academy. She’s been teaching for several years, and said this week was the worst week she’s ever experienced.

She said they knew a surge of COVID would happen after the holiday, but no plan was put in place from the district for if teachers or staff at out or quarantined.

Tate said teachers are giving up their lunch periods to help other classrooms, because there aren’t enough substitutes. And they’re stepping up to help clean, and take trash out if the janitorial staff is quarantined.

Tate said when things felt more temporary, they were happy to help, but now, they feel they aren’t getting any help or support from leaders in the district.

“Every other place in the world, in this country, when you don’t have the staff, you don’t tell the people who are still there to kill themselves to stay open. You make accommodations. And we’re just saying where are those accommodations like you’re not even trying,” she said.

Tate said at the end of the day, teachers and parents should have a seat at the table. She said they should be involved in the plans the district makes, and the district should have plans in place for these situations.

We reached out to the Champaign School District. This is their written statement…

“Despite the obstacles our educators are facing, they continue to go above and beyond to do the amazing work that is benefiting our students and keeping school buildings open. Like school districts across the nation, we are dealing with a lack of human capital. We are addressing staff shortages the best way we can, and until we can fill those open positions, District-level administrators, administrative assistants, teachers, support staff, and other Unit 4 employees are pitching in to ensure safe learning environments for our students. We are extremely proud of our dedicated staff.

Unit 4 continues to provide the necessary PPE to protect our staff and students, including masks, face shields, and sanitizer.  If an employee needs additional PPE they can contact their supervisor for assistance.

Stacey Moore, Chief Communications Director

All of that is just the tip of the iceberg. Tate and I talked for over an hour. We will have more on that conversation on WCIA-3 news this Sunday.