One in 5 U.S. teachers say they are unlikely to return to in-person instruction if schools reopen in the fall, a USA Today–Ipsos poll released Tuesday found.
The survey found that 25 percent of teachers 55 and older say they are unlikely to return this fall for in-person classes, hinting at the possibility of mass resignations.
About two-thirds of teachers say they haven’t been able to properly do their jobs after the education system was transferred online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Parents are also wary of sending their children back to classrooms, with almost 6 in 10 saying in a separate survey that they will likely pursue at-home learning options. Almost a third of parents — 30 percent — say they are “very likely” to take such steps.
The poll highlights how Americans remain concerned about the coronavirus and how that will likely affect schooling and daily life at least until a vaccine is available. About 4 in 10 teachers and parents oppose returning to in-person instruction before a vaccine is available.
About two-thirds of teachers and parents back a plan to return to the classroom for two or three days a week and utilize online learning the other days. Also, about two-thirds of both populations say teachers who are high risk should continue to teach online, while low-risk teachers instruct in-person.
"As our world has changed, almost everything we do has changed, including how we view and approach education,” said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos, according to USA Today. “Though Americans are optimistic about a return to in-person learning, there is angst among teachers, parents and America at large about how to keep our schools safe if the virus isn’t fully contained.”
The two polls were conducted from May 18 to 20. The teacher poll surveyed 505 educators of kindergarten through high school and had a margin of error of 5 points. The parent poll surveyed 403 parents of K-12 children and had a margin of error of 5.6 points.