Survey says teachers, parents ready to send students back to school
Superintendent says teachers are ready for return to classrooms with precautions in place
A majority of staff members in Eagle County Schools are ready to get back into the classroom, and a majority of families are ready to send their kids to those classes, according to the results of a district-wide survey.
But the opinions vary on what those classrooms should look like, and a full-on, back to school model with all students received less than 30% favorability among parents. Teachers were more favorable, with 45% of elementary school teachers and 43% of secondary school teachers saying they would return to school with all students.
Of the 736 teachers and staff surveyed, 504 said they were available for in-school instruction once again, and 203 said they would be open to a hybrid model, where in-class learning takes place two or three days per week, and the rest is done at home like it was during the stay-at-home period which concluded the 2019-20 school year.
“We’re excited, we get the sense that teachers are ready to get back in classrooms with the proper precautions and proper safety measures,” said Superintendent Phil Qualman at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “They’re eager to get back with their kids, eager to get back into the routines that they know are effective for instruction.”
Twenty-nine people from the 736 teachers and staff surveyed said they were not ready to return to the brick and mortar classroom, which was somewhat of a surprise given the number of staff members who have reached out to human resources, Qualman said.
“We’ve got principals reaching out and communicating to staff — if you’re not comfortable coming back, please let HR know —and we’ve had very few reach out with those concerns,” Qualman said.
Teaching in a mask
A majority of teachers and staff said they would be comfortable with sanitizing classrooms (75% in favor) and taking students’ temperatures (72% in favor).
Qualman said teachers would use infrared, hand-held, no-touch thermometers for screening students’ temperatures.
“We’re working with public health to procure those,” he said.
Teaching with a facemask was a less-popular idea among teachers, but still garnered 46% approval among the 621 respondents.
’Pushing for a five-day week’
The survey also received 2,703 responses from parents, 72% of which said they would be comfortable returning their children to five days per week in school.
The hybrid model also received 57% support among parents surveyed.
Twenty nine percent of parents said they would be comfortable with returning to school with all students, a “completely normal” model, as described by Qualman.
Qualman also said something not indicated on the survey summary was the fact that 10 percent of respondents said they are not comfortable coming back to school at all, “in any fashion, as long as there remains community spread of COVID-19.”
“Though we might be pushing for a five-day week, in our planning, especially for elementary (schools), we’re going to have a few families who prefer to engage in either remote learning … or some type of hybrid model,” Qualman said.
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