Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Health, Safety, Learning Loss Top Concerns For Next School Year’s Educators

Austin—Texas educators are most worried about on-campus health and safety, and student learning loss as they plan for the 2020-21 school year, according to newly published survey results from the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE).

ATPE recently conducted an open survey of Texas educators about their concerns for the 2020-21 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 4,270 educators and school employees responded, with 72.53 percent identifying themselves as current classroom teachers.

Respondents were asked to identify their top three concerns about returning to campus. More than 63 percent named the health and safety of students as a top concern. Sixty percent of respondents listed their personal health and safety, and more than 45 percent reported concern about student learning gaps and learning loss.

Other options included increased absenteeism, school funding, and increased workload and demands on time.

“Ever since campuses closed, Texas educators have expressed to ATPE and each other their concern for students’ welfare, both in terms of their health and safety and educational opportunity,” said Shannon Holmes, ATPE executive director. “Public education is headed into uncharted waters as schools deal with the complexities related to student and educator safety as well as the rising challenges that come with educating a diverse student population with varying needs.”

According to June data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), out of 1,696,923 cases across the U.S., only 76,854 cases were of children between the ages of 0-17, or less than 5 percent. There is, however, little data available on how COVID-19 develops in children. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently launched a study that aims to get those answers, but until then, schools and educators are left to plan for a new school year without them.

“There are no easy solutions here, but ATPE stands behind our state’s educators as they tackle these challenges head-on,” Holmes said. “It is imperative that we listen closely to their needs, concerns, and experiences as we head into the new school year, however it may look.”

ATPE is committed to ensuring the success of Texas educators and public schools, especially during these uncertain times. In early March, ATPE launched a COVID-19 resource and FAQ page at www.atpe.org/coronavirus. The webpage, one of the first COVID-19 resource webpages directed specifically toward Texas educators, lists government resources, breaking news, self-care resources and tips, and a comprehensive FAQ with fact-checked answers to common questions on everything from district requirements, health and employment, and working with students.

SOURCE Association of Texas Professional Educators