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Teachers combat COVID-19 classroom stress

Longview ISD teachers decided to release the woes of pandemic instruction through exercise.

LONGVIEW, Texas — Navigating the second school year in the same pandemic can take a toll on teachers, but Longview ISD is determined to make the most of it though an initiative called "Wellness Wednesday." It's a bi-weekly Zumba class for teachers.

Holly Thomas, 7th grade history teacher at Foster Middle School said she joined Zumba to bond with other teachers who understand the stress load that comes along with teaching during a pandemic. 

She said, "Probably the most stressful thing is the unknown. Not knowing, you know, when we might shut down, when we might have to go to online.”

Parent Student Intervention Specialist Alicia Johnson said she joined to feel close to others when long days of covid-19 precautions start to feel isolating.

“You yourself can feel like you're in a bubble," she said. "You feel like you're taking that bubble home to your family and so it’s a constant thought process of 'disinfect myself, but go serve. Hug, but don't hug.' It's a lot. It's a mental game.”

To conclude sessions, the group gathers to decompress about their workday. They each share one area where they “glow” and one where they can “grow.”

Johnson chimed in, “One area to grow is being able to leave the stress here and not take it home,” she said.

Thomas tells CBS19 as COVID-19 forced many districts in East Texas to close down, Longview ISD caseloads have remained low enough to keep their doors open.