With COVID-19 a prominent concern in our daily lives, the use of online tools for students has been the main focus for education for Phoenix students. Recently, Expect More Arizona conducted a survey amongst K-12 teachers to investigate how the pandemic has impacted teaching at the close of the 2019-2020 school year. The survey conducted in Spring 2020 had a goal to learn about the concerns our educators have for the upcoming school year. The responses were entirely anonymous to get an honest answer on what’s worked, what hasn’t, and provide advice from teachers to Arizona education policymakers.
A Matter of Health and Safety
Although more than 79% of teachers surveyed announced they were prepared to return to the classroom, one of the most worrying aspects is student and self-health concerns. Teacher/staff health and safety (66.6%), student health and safety (62.4%), and student mental health (36.9%) are top concerns for Arizona teachers. To prioritize the safety of the students and staff, educators are calling for more professional development. This guidance would focus on online education and tools for better student engagement. In addition, rules and procedures outlined by our government and school districts are necessary in order to prevent safety concerns.
Concerned for Continuing In-person Education
Over 10,000 teachers who engage in direct instruction were surveyed and almost two-thirds teach in high poverty Title 1 schools. An overwhelming majority of results found that 51.6% of those surveyed are either concerned or very concerned about returning to the classroom. As teachers know that this stall in education is not ideal, concerns for overall health and safety are taking precedence.
A Call for Online Education
As our current pandemic challenges our educational system, schools have to implement strategies to keep kids and staff safe while continuing education. Many schools have begun educating students with distance learning and have seen good results. Distance education has provided the right environment for schools globally over the years. According to The Research Institute of America, eLearning, participants learn nearly 5 times more material without increasing the time spent learning. However, access to computers is the remaining factor in instituting online education. Returning to the survey results, 16% of Phoenix teachers show a concern with access to technology in order to implement an online learning platform.
We know that in-person learning is crucial for the social and shared experiences of younger students. However, online learning can be incorporated into student’s lives with a positive impact. As we eventually move to an online educational platform due to added health concerns, thankfully educators can continue to teach kids academically. This experience hones in on the critical thinking and adaptability skills of students ultimately laying the foundation for important aspects in their futures and careers.
High Rising Schools of Phoenix is Here
As COVID-19 continues to impact Arizona, investing in strategies to continue our students’ education while keeping them safe is top-of-mind. The High Rising Schools of Phoenix is a community of schools in Downtown Phoenix that prioritize the education of every student through the messaging of safe and rigorous academic programs. If you have questions or concerns regarding our program or the upcoming school year, feel free to contact us!
Read the full Expect More Arizona survey here.