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SACRAMENTO, CA – Today the California Federation of Teachers released the results of a recent poll of 1,217 of its members who are educators and classified professionals across California. The poll found teachers and school workers are eager to return to in-person instruction and agree by overwhelming margins that vaccines and multi-layered mitigation strategies must be at the center of any effort to reopen schools for in-person instruction.
In the poll, conducted between January 28 and February 5, over 89% of educators and classified professionals rated as extremely important or important each of the following items when considering returning to in-person instruction:
- Ensuring a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available for all educators and classified professionals. (90% extremely important or important.)
- Having an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, or PPE, including masks, gloves, face shields, and cleaning equipment. (90% extremely important or important.)
- Having ventilation plans that take weather and air quality into account and maximize fresh air circulation. (90% extremely important or important.)
- Having regular testing available for all educators and classified professionals. (89% extremely important or important.)
“This poll confirms that, by overwhelming margins, educators and classified professionals agree on the safety measures that are essential to safely resume in-person instruction. We want to be back in the classroom as soon as we can do so safely,” said CFT President Jeff Freitas. “Safe, phased-in approaches that include vaccinations for school workers are already underway in districts throughout the state. These districts should serve as a guide for safe resumption of classroom teaching in districts across California.”
This week the Berkeley Unified School District announced a plan to reopen for in-person instruction with the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, and Santa Cruz County school districts started vaccinating teachers and school workers, examples of movement across the state to get students back into the classroom. With news this week that vaccine capacity in California should reach 3 million shots per week by March 1 under the Blue Shield contract, CFT expects to see increased ability for school reopening modeling these districts’ success.
CFT’s reopening guidelines and proposals from throughout the past year are available at: https://www.cft.org/reopening-guidelines.
The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at www.cft.org.