Most Ohio teachers don’t feel safe returning to the classroom, according to survey


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – A survey by the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) of K-12 educators in Ohio indicates only 8% want a full return to classrooms in the fall.

More than 66% of teachers surveyed want full-time distance learning – either until coronavirus cases decline or through the fall.

The Ohio Federation of Teachers survey was emailed to nearly 12,000 K-12 members of OFT, and the initial results include more than 1,700 individual responses from 40 local unions, OFT said in a release.

“OFT will now be reaching out to members in school districts that are not yet planning to begin the year with remote learning, and encouraging them to complete the survey,” the release stated.

“Our members across the state want nothing more than to get back into the classrooms and school buildings with our students, but the overwhelming majority are not confident that their school districts can reopen safely,” said OFT President Melissa Cropper.

“We know that what happens in our schools does not stay in our schools, and that a premature and unsafe reopening can have drastic effects on the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” 

When talking about their biggest concerns for the return to the classroom, many educators indicated the unknown long-term effects on their families.

Others said they are also concerned about student health and safety, as well as being in a high-risk category or having a family member in a high-risk category for COVID-19.

They also have a lot of concerns about distance learning.

Teachers top concerns were growing disparities in income and technology and race, students falling behind, essential services like meals, and the social and emotional impact on the students.

Nearly a third of all educators polled said they didn’t believe districts would be able to reduce class size enough for social distancing.

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