Texas teacher writes will as she prepares for new school year amid pandemic

Teacher writes will ahead of new school year amid pandemic
Teacher writes will ahead of new school year ... 01:51

Last Updated Jul 15, 2020 7:00 PM EDT

Texas — Mary Strickland has been teaching middle school for 22 years and she loves it. But the sign outside her Fort Worth home describes how the 53-year-old feels about going back: terrified.

Fearing the worst, she's making end-of-life plans. "I'm very concerned about my health, about my life — and that's why my husband and I decided to write our wills," Strickland told CBS News.

As President Trump pushes to get children back in classrooms, health officials suggest the new, daily coronavirus infection rate should be 5% or lower to reopen. Of the nation's 10-largest school systems — only New York and Chicago meet that threshold.

"You can't treat all the schools the same because they are in different parts of the outbreak," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's leading infectious disease expert, said.

School districts like Philadelphia are offering a hybrid of both in-person and remote learning. But the number offering online-only instruction is growing: Oakland, Atlanta and Nashville join Los Angeles and San Diego.

And yet governors of some states — including Florida and South Carolina — insist on a full reopening.

"We must do it safely," South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said. "We must do it carefully but we must do it."

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Mary Strickland CBS News

In Texas, marching orders like those are off-the-chart frightening for Strickland.

"I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm about a 25," she said.

Meanwhile, in Houston, the nation's eighth-largest school district announced plans to delay the start of school by two weeks — and it will be online only until mid-October. That's when parents will have the choice to send their children back to the classroom or continue to keep them at home.