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Local educators retiring instead of facing the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus this coming school year

In the Corpus Christi ISD, we're told there's been no noticeable increase in retirements, but some educators did retire because of the potential danger.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There's a new trend currently sweeping the country. Teachers are choosing to retire or just quit their jobs altogether instead of heading back to the classroom and facing the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. In the Corpus Christi ISD, we're told there's been no noticeable increase in retirements, but some educators did retire because of the potential danger.

Caren Gonzales has decided to retire after 24 years of teaching instead of facing the danger of possibly catching COVID-19 at school. She urges other teachers in the same position to retire instead of chancing it.

"If you are in a position to retire, if you can, as a friend of mine said, then I would just because of the unknown," Gonzales said. 

Her last assignment was at Tuloso-Midway high school as a Chemistry teacher. 

"The plan had been to retire next year anyway so really I only cut one year off of my plan, but the unknown was the big driving factor behind it all," Rodriguez said.

RELATED: CCAFT, teachers voicing concern over school resuming in the fall semester

Norma De Leon retired as the Garcia Elementary Principal on June 30 after a 29 year career cut short by COVID-19. De Leon has asthma and that puts her in a high-risk category when you're talking about this virus.

"It was a very difficult decision for me because I am very passionate about my job," De Leon said. "I had to make a decision on whether to leave a job I really love so much or I could retire and spend time with my family and take care of my health."

Dr. Nancy Vera, the president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said she's seen quite a few more retirements this year than last year, and feels like it's going to continue to be a trend.

"I don't think we've seen the end of it," Dr. Vera said. "I think we're going to see more teachers retire. We're going to see more teachers leave the school district from our area and across the state."

Dr. Vera is still urging state officials to continue with virtual learning instead of classes on campuses through December. That might help to keep more educators from retiring and allow medical researchers to hopefully come up with a vaccine or cure for COVID-19.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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