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Survey: 30% of St. Johns County teachers ‘uncomfortable’ with returning to school in fall

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – In an effort to understand how St. Johns County teachers felt about the prospect of returning to school campuses in the fall, the school district sent out a survey to more than 2,600 instructional staff.

Nearly 50% of the teachers responded to the survey, according to the district, and most of them said they were comfortable returning to school as the county and the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the results of the survey shared during a St. Johns County School Board workshop on Tuesday morning, 36% of teachers said they felt “very comfortable” and 34% said they felt “somewhat comfortable” returning to school.

More than 1,200 teachers responded to a survey from the St. Johns County School District.
More than 1,200 teachers responded to a survey from the St. Johns County School District. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

“They want to be back in the classroom, yesterday. They miss the face to face interaction with their kids with their peers,” said Michelle Dillon, St. Johns Education Association President. “But everyone has a different comfortable comfort level and I’ve heard that too from our union members. There are those with perhaps some health issues of their own or family members of their households and just a little bit of anxiety about the unknown.”

On the other side, 21% of teachers who responded said they were “somewhat uncomfortable” while 9% said they were “very uncomfortable.

Teachers were also asked how the district has done handling distance learning after schools were forced to close their doors.

Overall, 68% of teachers said the online learning experience was “excellent” while 31% said it was “satisfactory” and 1% said it was “poor."

The vast majority of St. Johns County teachers, 82%, said they are able to have a greater impact with face-to-face instruction. Additionally, 75% of teachers said the communication from school leadership was “excellent.”

More than 1,200 teachers responded to a survey from the St. Johns County School District.
More than 1,200 teachers responded to a survey from the St. Johns County School District. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

Superintendent Tim Forson said a similar survey will be sent out to St. Johns County parents in the coming days. The district also plans to send at least one more survey to teachers.

“So we have to ask that question early on, we have to know where we are right now," Forson said. "More importantly to us right now, is what worked and what didn’t work about the virtual environment that we found ourselves in during this last grading period.”

Forson said it’s still unclear what will happen in the fall, but the district is preparing for the possibility that students and teachers will continue distance learning when the 2020-2021 school year begins in August.


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