DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Education Association polled thousands of state teachers on the pending return to the classroom, and the results show most are concerned over the safety of returning to the classroom. 13,000 teachers said overwhelmingly that they want a voice on the plans to return to school.
In the poll, 78% of those polled said they would refuse to return to work if safety and health concerns were not addressed, and protective measures were not implemented.
According to a CEA survey released this week, 95% of the 13,457 educators, parents, and community members polled say they should vote on district plans to return to school. More than half, 53%, want to start the year 100% remotely. Just 8% want a 100% in-person start to the year.
Fewer than 20% of CEA members polled said they believe the districts can protect them from a COVID-19 outbreak in the coming school year.
“We’ve been clear with our demands to ensure the safety and well-being of students and educators during an eventual return to in-person instruction,” Amie Baca-Oehlert, President of CEA and a high school counselor, said. “Educators should be involved not only in the creation and implementation of district plans, but also have the opportunity to vote on those plans.”
In a news release this week, CEA outlined four expectations they believe must be in place for a safe and healthy return to the classroom:
- Employee voices and safety must drive decision making through honoring bargaining rights or a vote of approval from all employees.
- Safety precautions, protocols, and precautions must be provided by our school districts for all students and staff.
- Our community must be provided with transparency and data that has driven the decision-making process.
- Equity for students, staff, and families must always be provided, no matter where the learning is occurring.
“No one wants to return to schools and classrooms more than educators, but the decision to do so must take into account guidance from the state and local health departments as well as the necessary safety precautions,” John Robinson, president of the Poudre Education Association and high school teacher, said. “If school districts aren’t able to guarantee the health and safety of their students and educators, then we must delay the return to school and continue with distance learning.”