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Do teachers even want to come back to school during pandemic? Districts trying to find out
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Do teachers even want to come back to school during pandemic? Districts trying to find out

A new survey finds that over half of the teachers in the Granite School District feel unsafe returning to classrooms. (PHOTO: Jeffrey D Allred, Deseret News, April 14, 2020)

SALT LAKE CITY – How comfortable are teachers with the idea of coming back to school in the fall as COVID-19 cases continue to climb?  Some educators are trying to figure that out, now. 

Officials from the Canyons School District are trying to pinpoint exactly how many teachers they’ll have in the classrooms when the school year starts in August.  Spokesman Jeff Haney says they haven’t heard of significant amounts of push-back from teachers who don’t want to go back to class, but they wanted to be more precise.  Earlier this month, they sent out two surveys to their employees.

Haney says, “One survey went to teachers and the other went to the education support professionals.”  The ESP include people like bus drivers, secretaries and cafeteria workers.

Haney says they had two main objectives with these surveys.

“The goals of the surveys were to learn the intent of these groups to return to work in August, and to better understand their thoughts and concerns regarding the school opening in the midst of a pandemic,” says Haney.

Administrators are still crunching the numbers on those surveys, but Haney says the results will be made public during their next board meeting on Tuesday. 

The Granite School District is still formulating their content and directions for teachers, so district representatives say they can’t give many specifics, yet.  They are expecting all teachers to arrive for in-person teaching when the school year begins, however, that may change depending on enrollment.  District Spokesman Ben Horsley says they also haven’t heard many teachers saying they don’t want to return.

The situation is slightly different for the Salt Lake City School District.  That city is still in the orange or “moderate risk” level, and if things don’t change in the next seven weeks, the district will have to continue with remote learning.  Spokesperson Yándary Chatwin says they also surveyed their teachers in the past few months, and many of them wanted better training to prepare for remote learning.

She says, “Teachers were doing their best to get their lessons online but they were using different platforms, different software and different apps.  That was a little confusing for parents.

Chatwin says they’ve streamlined their platforms, so teachers will be able to upload all of their lessons on one service instead of many.  They’re also trying to find out how many teachers would be willing to come back in August, however, they haven’t seen any significant drop in the amount of people applying to become new teachers.

She says, “We’re about on par with a traditional year.  The pandemic hasn’t really impacted our hiring.”

 

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