A Pinellas art teacher savors her classroom, putting cancer and fear aside

ST. PETERSBURG — Rhonda Rayman can go on and on about the safety features in her art classroom at Lakewood Elementary School.

How she retrofitted pizza boxes so children can keep track of their own supplies. How she set up display racks and shower curtains to separate the kids’ tables. How she revamped the curriculum, making it heavy on videos, and stripped of lessons that are “hand-over-hand.”

It’s not enough to satisfy Rayman’s daughters, who are in their thirties and wonder why their mother — 58 and a recent cancer survivor — would set foot in a public school this year.

Art teacher Rhonda Rayman said she “knew the energy was right” at Lakewood Elementary, which is working to climb above its F grade from the state. [Courtesy of Rhonda Rayman]

Rayman herself can’t be sure how safe she is from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes she will slip

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