61% Of Teachers Feel Comfortable Being Back For In-Person Learning, According To 2nd-Largest Union’s Poll

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A poll conducted by the nation’s second-largest teachers union found that a majority of teachers back in the classroom for in-person learning feel comfortable in their COVID-19 classroom arrangements.

The American Federation of Teachers’ poll conducted Feb. 4-6 asked 600 teachers and 200 school-related professionals a number of questions regarding their respective school’s education model during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the teachers polled who were back in the classroom, 61% of teachers said they felt comfortable in their current arrangement, and 69% of school-related professionals responded they were comfortable.

For teachers still educating students remotely, 55% responded that they would not feel comfortable returning to work, according to the poll. For school-related professionals, 48% said they would be comfortable returning while 47% did not, the poll found.

The poll also found higher levels of anxiety about catching COVID-19 at work among teachers that are working remotely, with 71% very or somewhat worried. For teachers currently working with fully in-person or hybrid models, 64% were somewhat or very worried about catching COVID-19 at work, the poll found.

Over three-quarters of poll respondents also said that distance learning was not as effective as in-person learning. Only 5% of respondents said distanced learning was working just as well as in-person, while 79% said distanced learning was working somewhat or much less than in-person. (RELATED: Parents Are Pulling Kids From Public Schools Thanks To Teachers Unions. Now They’re Getting A Religious Education)

Teachers and school-related professionals also rejected hybrid models in the poll. Teachers and school-related professionals favored approaches that were either entirely in-person or remote at a rate of 78% and 55%, respectively. 

Among the respondents, teachers unions were the second-most trusted institutions, with 79% of respondents saying they trusted the unions. Teachers unions were second only to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and was followed by “my school district” in third, President Joe Biden in fourth, and the Department of Education fifth, according to the poll.

To maintain their high level of trust among teachers and teachers unions, it seems the Biden administration is carefully trying to toe the line between the unions’ narrative and the science surrounding in-person learning for young students. White House press secretary Jen Psaki previously evaded questions from reporters on what the Biden administration would do if teachers unions do not budge.

The President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, was once on The Washington Post’s shortlist for Biden’s Secretary of Education nominee before the president nominated Education Commissioner of Connecticut Miguel Cardona.