July 27, 2020 | KTVA | Scott Gross |

recent survey by the National Education Association-Alaska revealed a majority of teachers across the state say they are apprehensive about the prospect of fully reopening public schools.

The survey received more than 3,500 responses from teachers in 39 school districts, according to NEA-Alaska’s website. More than 75% said they were “somewhat uncomfortable” about a full reopening.

“This was by far the most participation we’ve had on a survey of our members,” said NEA-Alaska President Tom Klaameyer. “This response rate alone tells us how important the issue is and how engaged our members are in the discussion.”

Half of the respondents indicated they are “very uncomfortable.” According to NEA-Alaska, 16% of teachers believe their school district should fully reopen.

On Thursday, the House Education Committee heard testimony from state education leaders and state officials on the challenges that lie ahead for schools preparing for the upcoming school year during a global pandemic.

Klaameyer told the committee that most teachers are uncomfortable going back to the classroom. Although they want to be back with their students, they feel now is not the time to rush back into schools.

“As we discuss plans to reopen our public schools, educators and public health professionals must be active participants in those discussions and decisions which ultimately determine when and how we re-enter the classroom,” Klaameyer said. “Our own personal safety, the safety of our families and the safety of our students and their families ought to be our top priority.”

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