Twenty percent of U.S. teachers say they are not likely to return to their classrooms this fall if schools reopen - and most parents and educators believe school buildings will open, according to polls published Tuesday.
The polls - one taken of K-12 teachers and the other of parents with school-age children - found that 73% of parents and 64% of teachers said they believe children will eventually make up for learning lost because of the disruption of school during the crisis. And 63% of parents and 65% of teachers said they believe school buildings in their areas will reopen this fall.
The findings came in USA Today-Ipsos polls published Tuesday. The newspaper and Ipsos, a global research and marketing firm, conducted two polls at the same time from May 18-2 and said that "credibility intervals," which are similar to margins of error, are plus- or minus-5 percentage points for the teachers survey and 5.6% for the survey of parents with school-age children.
It is not possible to know how school districts would be affected if 1 in 5 teachers do not show up to reopened schools, because schedules and attendance expectations will be different in the fall to comply with social distancing requirements.
School districts are racing to complete plans for the fall semester but are also factoring in contingencies: full-scale openings, no openings or some hybrid of the two.
Many districts have said they are considering having students come in on some school days but not others so social distancing rules inside classrooms can be respected. An outbreak of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, on any school campus could lead to a full-scale closure.
In the polls, about two-thirds of teachers and parents said they support having students go to class up to three days a week and staying at home to work remotely the other days. Such a schedule could mitigate a loss of teachers unwilling to return to school. Twenty percent of teachers said they were unlikely to go back.
Schools across the country - and much of the world - closed this spring as the coronavirus spread across the world.
Some, such as in South Korea, have started reopening, but few have in the United States. According to the U.N. Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization, nearly 70% of the world’s students are still being affected by school closures. That is down from nearly 95% of the world’s students a few months ago.