As a behavioral specialist for Westport Community Schools, Kelley Cooper worked with over 50 students throughout the district to address behavioral issues and ensure their academic success.
Kelley's life quickly became centered around the pandemic day-in and day-out when the school district returned to in-person learning on Oct. 13, 2020. At times, the nature of her job meant that socially distancing herself from students was impossible. When the school day was over, she often went straight to her parents' house, where she and her mom had set up shop for their face mask Etsy business they had launched in August 2020. Kelley's full workday lasted at least 11 hours, and weekends were just as busy.
But at the end of the school year in May, Kelley sustained a knee injury while working with one of her students. She was unable to return to school, and in October, her knee gave out and she broke her ankle in the fall. As someone who thrives on productivity, being away from her students and work was challenging.
Kelley returned to school for the first time in seven months on January 3, 2022. Her return came in the midst of a surge in cases due to the Omicron variant, and she was restricted to only working with specific students, so as to limit risk of further injury. While the pandemic and her injuries persist, she is thrilled to be back with her co-workers and students.
March 2021 – January 2022