Some Teachers Considering Retiring, Resigning Over Returning To School In Pandemic

Jul 28, 2020, 6:55 AM | Updated: Jul 30, 2020, 3:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – More than 1,000 teachers have spoken out to make their message clear that they are fearful about returning to school in the middle of a pandemic.

Some of those teachers said they’re even considering retiring or resigning.

Educators across the state said their primary concern is schools don’t have the capability for social distancing, and they’re worried sanitation efforts will be inadequate.

“The infection rate is too high, and we’re just not ready,” said teacher Katie Nelson. “We’re not ready to open.”

Nelson surveyed teachers to ask how they were feeling about returning to school. That survey received more than 1,000 responses within a two-day period.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents disagreed with the statement: “I feel safe.”

Leaders with teacher unions are hearing from those who said they aren’t willing to return.

“It’s a surprising number in the past few weeks,” said Michael McDonough with the Granite Education Association. “Teachers are really worried about the ability to distance kids in their classroom.”

Nelson’s survey showed 61% of teachers don’t believe schools can provide enough sanitation or cleaning supplies.

“Everything is sold out, and we can’t get them ourselves,” Nelson said. “How are we going to get them in such bulk for the large buildings that we have?”

In the Granite School District, authorities are working with teachers who want to retire or take a leave of absence, even though the dealine has already passed.

“I would guess dozens of teachers are taking them up on that offer,” McDonough said. “It’s going to be hard to staff our classrooms. We’re going to be missing a bunch of teachers.”

Many teachers have requested to teach online, but schools won’t know how many of those positions they’ll need to fill until parents register.

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Some Teachers Considering Retiring, Resigning Over Returning To School In Pandemic