A majority of teachers currently back in classrooms for in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic say they are comfortable with the experience, a national union’s poll has found.
The survey from the American Federation of Teachers, conducted from Feb. 4-6, asked 600 teachers and 200 paraprofessionals/school-related personnel their opinions on an issue that has become a heated debate across the country.
Of the teachers who responded, 61% of those working in schools where in-person or hybrid learning is happening said they feel comfortable with the return so far, compared to 35% who said they don’t, according to the poll.
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When the same question was asked to teachers in schools that are still operating remotely, that number flipped. Fifty-five percent of teachers in that group said they would not feel comfortable going back to work in-person, compared to 40% who said they would, the survey found.
Across the spectrum, only 34% of respondents say schools should continue operating remote-only at this point in the coronavirus pandemic. The poll found that 40% believe hybrid learning — a mix of in-person and virtual teaching — is the way to go, while 24% called for a full return to classrooms.
An overwhelming majority — 79% — said that remote learning has worked somewhat or much less well compared to traditional in-person teaching, the poll found.
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Sixty-four percent of the respondents also said they are very or somewhat worried about catching the coronavirus in school facilities, despite varying protective measures that districts have put in place.
The survey reported that 23% of respondents have been vaccinated.