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Local teacher resigns over COVID-19 fears, starts tutoring program

Posted at 6:48 AM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 07:37:29-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — This school year is causing many people to make difficult decisions, including teachers.

“My school was planning on doing simultaneous, which means I would have five to 15 kids in class, in front of me and be streaming to an additional 15 to 20 online,” said former teacher Jessica Smith.

She says she’s worked as a teacher in Pinellas County for the past five years.

“Just the growing paranoia of what would be my life with being exposed to 80 potentially up to 100 students every day,” said Smith.

She turned in her resignation about two weeks ago.

“I love this job and I miss the kids already but risk really outweighed the reward on it,” she said.

However, Smith still wanted to help kids and thought about her students and how much they loved doing experiments and hands-on projects.

She realized this element will be missing for many students doing e-learning.

“It’s leaving a huge gap in that. So my idea was to not only offer private tutoring if they’re struggling with a certain concept, but also to fill those gaps and offer student engaging enrichment,” said Smith.

Smith says students will fill out an interest survey and she’ll take those results to create a menu of options.

“If they really need help on something that they’re deficient in, and tutoring I can do that. But what I really would like to do is add some personalized enrichment,” said Smith.

She wants to focus on interactions, socialization, and collaboration in a safe way.

Smith says she also hopes to do science experiments in the park.

“Phase Two would be adding more content areas and also having like a community day where we’d have little pods set up,” said Smith.

She wants to start chapters in different counties with more teachers.

“The community response has been overwhelming. People are really excited about the idea,” said Smith.

You can contact her at