Most educators are not comfortable with returning to school in the fall, according to survey results conducted by the Alabama Education Association.
The AEA, which represents more than 85,000 educators, revealed that 65% of survey respondents, including administrators, teachers, and support personnel, are “very uncomfortable” returning to the classroom.
Fears of contracting the virus topped their concerns as 43% of respondents, chiefly teachers, said they had underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk.
Thirty-percent of those polled said they’d considered retiring from the profession early, while 67% voted that they strongly agreed that remote learning should be the only option for the 2020-2021 school year. Sixty-three percent of poll-takers said that school buildings should only reopen after public health experts deem it is safe to do so.
One surveyor commented, “"I would love more than anything for school to reopen this fall but only if it can be done safely where the students can still have somewhat of a normal experience. With cases on the rise in our area I don’t see there being a safe reopen plan at this time."
Most were in favor of mandating masks for students, something that Gov. Kay Ivey addressed when she extended the mask mandate on Wednesday to include students starting in the second grade.
Three local school systems decided on Thursday to delay school start dates with the hope that the virus spread will slow: Dothan City Schools delayed its start date to Sept. 8; Geneva County Schools delayed its start date until Aug. 28; and Geneva City Schools is planning to push its start date back to Aug. 24, pending board approval.
On Thursday, Eufaula City Schools decided to go to only virtual learning for the first nine weeks.