STUART, Fla. — Several teachers in Martin County have made it clear they are not ready to return to the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic and have decided to either resign or retire just weeks before school is set to start.
"I retired earlier than I had anticipated because of my health concerns," said Mandy Walker.
Walker said she would have liked to work longer but was not willing to risk contracting COVID-19.
"I wanted to work longer," said Walker. "I love the job. I love what we're doing, but I need to be well."
Walker handed in her instructor badge and decided to retire Friday.
"I'm concerned," said Walker. "I'm very concerned."
According to the Martin County School District, 28 employees submitted their resignation during the month of July.
It's not clear how that number compares to previous summers.
District officials said that, as of July 27, there are 21 teacher vacancies and more than 400 substitute teachers have advised that they are ready to return to campus until the vacancies are filled.
Walker said that she thought long and hard about her decision to retire.
"No matter which numbers you look at, there are more cases now than there were March 16, March 23, March 30," said Walker. "It defies logic."
District officials said the school reopening plan calls for multiple protocols to be in place for both student and staff safety.