Just days after two professors at the University of North Georgia resigned instead of teaching classes in person, another professor at a public university in Georgia has decided to call it quits over COVID-19 concerns.
Irwin Bernstein, an 88-year-old retiree-rehire at the University of Georgia, abruptly quit his position in the middle of a class after a student refused to pull her mask over her nose, according to WSBTV.
The student claimed that she could not breathe with the mask over her nose.
Rather than continuing, Bernstein, who said he had underlying health conditions, decided to retire for the second time. He was in the first week of teaching a psychology seminar. Two students in the class had already reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, which has been spreading rapidly for the past month.
“At that point I said that whereas I had risked my life to defend my country while in the Air Force, I was not willing to risk my life to teach a class with an unmasked student during this Pandemic,” Bernstein reportedly said in an email to the school’s newspaper. “I then resigned my retiree-rehire position.”
Bernstein also implied that the decision for the country to stay open during the pandemic was an economic one.
“I am sorry that the pandemic has caused so much dissension,” he said. “I personally do not agree that stimulating the economy is more important than people’s lives and am disappointed that some people feel that it is.”
The school confirmed his resignation, and said that his students were moved to another section.
His decision comes days after two University of North Georgia professors resigned from their posts instead of teaching in-person classes. They, too, feared for their health during the pandemic.
Lecturers Cornelia Lambert and Lorraine Buchbinder resigned on the same day last week, as reported by The Georgia Star News.
“I just began to feel (in-person teaching) was inconsistent with my values as a scholar and as a teacher,” Lambert said at the time.
One of her courses was the history of infectious diseases.
Georgia’s public universities do not have a mask mandate, but they “strongly encourage” students to wear masks and get vaccinated.
– – –
Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Georgia Star News and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “University of North Georgia arches” by ZachJBeavers CC BY-SA 3.0.