With Colleges Closed, Instability for Adjuncts Spikes Higher

The coronavirus pandemic is making adjunct professors’ hunger and healthcare struggles even worse.


For Angela Edwards-Luckett, an adjunct professor in Florida now virtually teaching at St. Petersburg College on account of the coronavirus pandemic, #ProtectAllWorkers means fully paid sick and family leave, as well as access to quality, affordable healthcare for every worker in America. It means industries, large corporations, and our government prioritizing working people as we face this global crisis.

In addition to being a teacher of World Religions, Angela is a self-employed ordained minister, a wife caring for a disabled husband, a mother of two daughters (one who’s now home on account of her closed school), and a daughter of an elderly mother. She’s surrounded by many people who are affected by the pandemic.

“The last two weeks have been panicked,” she says. “My students have been fearful—that they won’t receive college credit and will be completely thrown off course for schooling. And my colleagues and I have been over stressed about meeting the expectations as instructors with every changing moment.” 

She explains, “We’ve had to create new syllabuses and guidelines and are now required to do online teaching from home, create Zoom video meetings and virtual office hours. All of this is moving quicker than we can track, and there’s little time for us to prepare.”

What she isn’t saying right there is that this stress is on top of her usual, but extreme, financial stress (widely shared by colleagues, which prompted them to join together and form a union last year). Despite two masters degrees, Angela only makes $2,000 a course and consequently struggles to feed her family. For health insurance, she’s covered by the Affordable Care Act, but her premiums and medication costs are too high. 

“Above all,” Angela says of the pandemic, “this is going to be a monetary disruption. The struggle to survive and provide for my family is real, and it’s worse now than it was before. What we (teachers) contribute to society is essential to everyday life ... and for me, that’s training future leaders on a daily basis. This is why it’s critically important for CEOs, institutions and the government to Protect All Workers.”

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