FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2020
Contact: Zachary Mannix, Communications Director, NEA-Alaska
907-841-1089 // Zachary.Mannix@neaalaska.org
Alaska Educators Skeptical of School Reopening
Overwhelming number of Alaska educators raise concerns about in-person lessons.
ANCHORAGE: Today, NEA-Alaska, the union representing over 11,000 active public school employees, released results of an internal member survey regarding school reopening readiness which shows overwhelming margins of Alaska educators are uncomfortable returning to in-person instruction this fall.
The survey, conducted from July 17 to July 22 and received over 3,500 individual responses. Of those responses, 76% indicated that they had been informed of their district’s reopening plans, yet over 75% of respondents are at least “somewhat uncomfortable” with fully reopening the public schools in their district. 50% of respondents indicated that they are “very uncomfortable” with a full reopening. In Anchorage, over 81% of respondents are at least “somewhat uncomfortable” with reopening schools.
47% of respondents believe schools should not fully reopen this fall and that all instruction should be conducted via distance delivery. 35% of educators believe a partial reopening is appropriate, while only 16% believe their district should fully reopen.
Personal safety, the safety of educator’s families, and the safety of students are the top concerns for Alaska educators when considering going back into the classroom.
“Clearly, Alaska teachers and education support professionals have significant reservations about returning to the classroom this fall,” said Tom Klaameyer, President of NEA-Alaska. “Until proper safety measures are in place to ensure our students, educators, and families are protected from the COVID-19 coronavirus, we need to slow down and reevaluate our approach on a district by district level with considerable input from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink.”
“Alaska educators have been training and preparing to deliver high quality distance education over the summer,” said Klaameyer. “It is essential that we trust our public health officials, better utilize education technology, and keep our communities safe. In areas where COVID-19 cases are on the rise, the most effective way to ensure our students can learn in a safe environment is to move forward with distance learning until this pandemic is under control.”
The NEA-Alaska survey was sent to all members via email. In total, over 3,500 educators from 39 different school districts participated.