A new poll conducted by USA Today in partnership with research company Ipsos found that nearly 20 percent of teachers said they are not likely to return to their classrooms if schools open in the fall amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The survey also found that teachers over the age of 55 were even less likely to return in the fall. Almost 25 percent of older teachers said they would not return if schools reopened.
Many of the teachers surveyed said that they were concerned about the safety of going back to in-classroom teaching, USA Today reported. Almost 90 percent of teachers said that they didn't believe proper social distancing could be enforced in a school setting.
"The expectation of parents and society is we're sending our children to be educated in a safe environment, and how we're going to provide that safe environment is completely unknown," one survey respondent wrote.
The USA Today/Ipsos poll also explored the experiences teachers and parents are having with distance-learning. When schools were forced to shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, they moved to a distance-learning format, forcing teachers and students to adapt to a completely different style of teaching on the fly. Teachers and parents who responded to the survey overwhelmingly agreed that distance learning has been more difficult than in-classroom teaching.More than 80 percent of teachers said they were having a harder time doing their jobs now and nearly two-thirds of them said they were working more. Almost 70 percent of parents agreed that their children's teachers are working harder than they were before.
However, the difficulty of distance-learning doesn't mean that parents and teachers are ready to resume in-classroom learning, the USA Today/Ipsos poll found. Nearly 40 percent of parents and teachers surveyed said that they would not feel safe with schools reopening before a vaccine for novel coronavirus is available.
More than half of the parents surveyed said that even if schools reopen, they would consider pursuing online or homeschooling education opportunities for their children instead of sending them back to the classroom. Approximately two-thirds of both parents and teachers supported the idea of going back to the classroom a few days a week and distance-learning on the other days to limit the time students were physically in school.
Though teachers are reluctant to return to their classrooms and parents are reluctant to send their kids back, the majority of them said they believe schools will reopen in the fall, USA Today reported. This leaves parents and teachers with tough decisions to ponder before summer's end.