COVID fears encourages teachers to create their Will.
“I’m very concerned about my health, about my life, and that’s why my husband and I decided to write our wills.” - 53-year-old Fort Worth middle-school teacher Mary Strickland to CNN
Teacher Terror: COVID Fears Spur Will-Writing Rush
Make no mistake, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc. A pandemic like this hasn’t been seen since the early 20th century and the reality of it has people spinning like tops.
One group that is seeing frontline action, risking their health by turning up to work every day, are teachers. Many teachers headed back into the classrooms in September without firm safety guidance or protocols and are now afraid they will be COVID’s next casualties. As a result, many are taking the bull by the horns and writing wills in advance of what they worry may be inevitable.
In a word, yes. It is risky sending adults back into an environment where there are still more questions than answers. Teachers around the country are desperate to get back to the classroom, but that hope comes with a lot of fear, as well.
“Teachers are so concerned about returning to school that they are updating wills or making their wills,” said Andrea Clark, a union representative in Florida, to the British publication The Daily Mail. “Some have underlying health concerns where they feel fairly certain that if they caught COVID-19, it would have a bad outcome, possibly fatal.”
Denise Bradford, a teacher from Orange County, California told CNN what many others are thinking, "How horrible is it that one of the things on the list to do is to have a plan for students and teachers dying?”
Getting Down to Business
These sentiments are being expressed publicly all over the country by teachers, many of whom are frightened to go one the record for fear of repercussions from their school districts. One theme that recurs though is that the surge in will-writing by educators has grown since the start of the school year. Anxiety is no doubt an overriding factor, but there is also a certain amount of “no time like the present” to get affairs in order in unsure times.
To that effect, CNBC reported earlier this year that Boston-based Gentreo saw a 143% week-over-week increase in people creating wills, while San Diego’s Trust & Will saw a 50% uptick in business since the epidemic began. DeVere Group, one of the world’s largest financial advisory firms, noted a 76% rise in demand for wills last spring at the height of the crisis. This growth in wills being produced doesn’t consist wholly of teachers, of course, but it does highlight the greater trend.
A Will has not traditionally been part of the usual back-to-school list, but then, we are living in a crazy moment in time. As teachers look forward to a long winter and spring riddled with an ever-changing health situation, there may just be even more who are planning ahead just in case the worst does happen.