46% of teachers would prefer distance learning this fall, CEA survey finds


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — A recent study by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) found that more teachers would prefer distance learning this fall.

Nearly 16,000 Connecticut educators responded to CEA’s statewide poll, which was conducted July 13 – 20.

RELATED: Connecticut Education Association releases safe learning plan for reopening schools

Their responses supported the need for delayed openings, staggered schedules, hybrid learning and guaranteed funding to ensure healthy and safe schools.

Results indicated that nearly 74% of educators oppose the state’s plan to fully reopen schools without the necessary protections for students and educators.

Based on current health trends, 16% of teachers said they would prefer to return to school in the fall, while 46% favored distance learning. A hybrid approach was supported by 39%.

“We need to listen to the concerns of our educators, parents, community members and health experts during a life-threatening pandemic,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “We can’t expect to reopen our schools in a usual fashion, especially as new evidence demonstrates that school-age children 10 years and older spread the virus as readily as adults.”

State officials have said parents have the option to decide how their child(ren) will learn during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Governor Ned Lamont has been targeting early August for a final decision on reopening schools. However, each district will control when it actually opens the doors.

“Every town, every city’s got very different metrics,” Lamont said during a daily briefing Monday. “As Miguel [Cardona, the state’s Commissioner of Education] has said, I think in the majority of the cases, the vast majority will be able to have in-class, especially for the lower grades. Some situations will be unique. We gotta give them that flexibility.”

While schools have been given that flexibility, a survey by the state found that 76% of students and 81% of teachers expect to return to the classroom this fall.

While how classes will look this fall is still undecided, teachers can agree on a few things:

  • Requiring students and educators to follow CDC recommendations about regularly washing hands (99%) and make hand sanitizer available throughout buildings (99%).
  • Limiting groupings of students and educators in a way that reflect schools’ ability to physically distance six feet apart, including in classrooms, gyms, and school buses (97%).
  • Providing and requiring masks for educators and students (96%) and prohibiting visitor access (96%).
  • COVID-19 testing protocols at each school (95%).
  • Hiring bus monitors to help enforce social distancing and mask wearing on school buses (91%).

See the survey’s full findings below:

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