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Do teachers even want to come back to school during pandemic? Districts trying to find out
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Survey finds a majority of Granite School District teachers are uncomfortable returning to classrooms

A new survey finds that over half of the teachers in the Granite School District feel unsafe returning to classrooms. (PHOTO: Jeffrey D Allred, Deseret News, April 14, 2020)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A new survey is finding that a majority of teachers in the Granite School District are apprehensive about returning to classrooms.

Startling Granite survey

The survey sent out by the Granite Education Association received responses from approximately 1,400 of the district’s 4,000 teachers. In it, they found 55% of teachers believe there is no amount of sanitation or personal protective equipment that will adequately protect them from coronavirus.

Granite Education Association President Mike McDonough says their association sent a letter to the Granite School Board and superintendent saying most of the teachers are afraid and want some additional action to take place.

“Educators are afraid for their health and the health of their loved ones,” McDonough writes. “We are said to be essential employees and are the only group of such workers asked to be sequestered in a room with 25+ people for several hours a day, every day.”

McDonough tells Utah Policy a large majority of teachers want to do something, but there’s not a “critical mass” of teachers calling for a strike.

“GEA is asking that educators’ fears and concerns be acknowledged and more so, addressed,” the letter continues. “Telling educators not to worry is not helpful. Providing sanitation materials is not enough. Show us that you take our concerns seriously. Make the difficult decisions necessary to protect all your employees, and students.”

Union pushback 

The Granite School District is starting the school year with secondary students attending four days a week in-person. Meanwhile, elementary students will be in class five days a week.

The GEA is asking the district to drop the elementary schedule to only four days of in-person classes per week to match with the high schools.

The district, which has seen more than 30 teachers resign or retire since unveiling their plans, says they’re taking the request very seriously.

“We are listening and empathize with the concerns the GEA has presented, and are taking under serious consideration the request for a four-day schedule for elementary schools based on their formal request,” says district spokesperson Ben Horsely.

Classes begin on August 24 in the Granite School District.

Utah’s 41 school districts unveil reopening plans for fall