Maria Salinas is a teacher by day but a mom all of the time.
She works full-time as a fifth-grade teacher at Lake Trafford Elementary in Immokalee and cares for her three children. She is also is pregnant with her fourth child.
Salinas said being a teacher is much harder this year than it was last year when Collier offered a virtual learning system. She said she knows more kids are falling behind without that option this year.
Now, Salinas is dealing with COVID infections after her oldest got sick four days into his kindergarten class.
“He’ll call grandma and say ‘we got the corona!’ And I’m like sigh. He’s like ‘we can’t smell, we can’t taste’ and I’m like sigh he doesn’t understand what we’re going through,” Salinas said.
Now, Salinas has added the role of nurse to her long list of duties. All of her kids are now infected with COVID-19. She also got COVID and beat the infection.
“Honestly, it’s really scary,” Salinas said. “It’s scary for us. I’m 24 weeks pregnant and it was scary for me. It was scary for the kids.”
It’s also a scary time for her to be a teacher.
Teachers are not allowed to ask students in Collier County to wear a mask.
She can however teach a child to wash their hands.
“We’re exposed every single day by every single child,” she said.