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Plans for fall bring importance of educator voices to forefront

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Members worry about reopening buildings, survey says

Education Minnesota surveyed its members via email July 16-20 about their feelings and thoughts about the best way to resume public education during the COVID-19 crisis. More than 20,500 members responded.

The most frequently chosen option was to continue distance learning with 49 percent of respondents, while 29 percent of educators preferred a hybrid of distance and in-person learning. Seventeen percent of educators supported full-time, in-person classes this fall.

The survey makes clear the racial inequalities that run through public education are present in this decision, too. Educators of color are even more reluctant to return to in-person learning than educators as a whole, likely because of the extra risk the virus poses to Black, brown and Indigenous communities. 

Nearly every educator who took the survey agreed that any return to our school buildings must include big changes to how we teach, interact with our students, keep our buildings clean and arrange our workspaces.

Education Minnesota shared the survey results with Gov. Tim Walz and Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker to help guide their decisions for fall.

A selection of questions and answers are shown below.

How should education take place in the fall?

How comfortable are you in returning to school if all reopening safety standards are met?

If you are very comfortable or somewhat comfortable about returning to school, why do you feel that way? Check all that apply. (Skip if you answered somewhat uncomfortable or very uncomfortable)

If you are somewhat uncomfortable or very uncomfortable about returning to a school, what are your concerns? Check all that apply. (Skip if you answered very comfortable or somewhat comfortable)

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