BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’ve heard some teachers are uncomfortable with returning to the classroom this fall. Now, we’re getting a clearer picture of just how many teachers share that sentiment.
Nearly 41,000 teachers, staff and administrators took part in a survey by the Alabama Education Association and 65% said they are very uncomfortable returning to their school buildings for the upcoming school year. The survey was administered between July 13-15.
“That mirrors the phone calls that I get, the messages I’ve received. By in large, teachers are very fearful of coming back,” AEA District 28 Representative Tracee Binion said.
Another thing that stood out to Binion is that many administrators say they are also uncomfortable returning to their school buildings.
“These are the people who are actually trying to come up with plans and trying to figure out all of the things that could happen. I just find that a very telling piece of information,” Binion said.
The survey finds 62% believe schools should reopen with the remote learning option only which is something that Binion has heard over and over from teachers she represents.
“When the safety concerns override that need for that face to face interaction then we have to come up with something safe for all people involved and that is the remote learning option. With the systems that have chosen to utilize this option, You’re going to see more engaging lessons. You’re going to see a higher level of interaction with the students because we learned a lot in the spring,” Binion added.
The survey also found 36% of people have considered leaving their profession or retiring early due to COVID-19. Binion finds that eye opening and says it could have a big impact on the education system if those people decide to leave.
“That was also pretty alarming to me to know that we have got that many teachers who are considering leaving the profession because of the dangers that his poses either to them personally or they feel that it poses to their family because they’re a caregiver or the larger community,” Binion said.