Poll Shows Michigan Teachers are Concerned About Teaching During COVID-19

Poll Shows Michigan Teachers are Concerned About Teaching During COVID-19

LANSING - The Michigan Education Association surveyed 4,700 of its members on various topics relating to education and COVID-19.

The state-wide survey was completed by members, teacher support staff and other public-school employees. The data release comes after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) epidemic order shut down high schools beginning Nov. 18, for three weeks.

“The health and safety of our school educators, students and families has never been more important,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “Educators have made it clear that they want and need further steps to be taken by state government, local school districts to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases.”

Included on the survey were questions on what participants have seen throughout their building as far as social distancing and masking up requirements and follow through.

According to the data 91% of participants reported seeing employees wearing masks most or all of the time while in the building, while only 77% reported seeing students wearing masks most or all of the time.

“Educators who have returned to some level of in-person learning report mixed compliance with safety measures, particularly when it comes to students and socially and physical distancing,” said Herbart. “This raises serious concerns about the ability of schools to ensure the safety of students, educators and families in a full return to in-person learning.”

When asked to what extent students were following health expert’s recommendations of social distancing by at least six-feet, only 18% of participants reported seeing social distancing most or all of the time in their schools.

“It’s really hard if you’re full, have all of the students and all of the educators in the school, it’s probably pretty hard to have this degree of social distancing that’s recommended,” said GBAO Research Pollster, Michael Bocian.

Overall, two-thirds of the participants believe their school district will not be ready to return to in-person learning by January.

“We cannot risk the health and safety of our students, our communities and our educators at the risk of life and limb to make sure that we are face-to-face,” said Herbart. “If our communities had behaved in such a way where we were masking up, if our legislature had made a mask mandate, if we had said to everyone that we take health and safety as our number priority, we could be back in school right now.”

The MEA is firm on believing all schools should be required to move to virtual learning for three-weeks to minimize the spread of the virus.

Additionally, the association believes teachers should not be required to go into schools while teaching virtually but, should have the option to go into the schools if a power outage or other connection issue arises that could prevent teaching from home.

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