Nearly 85% of Baltimore County educators surveyed by the teachers union this week said they are anxious or very anxious about returning to classrooms before January.
The survey comes as School Superintendent Darryl Williams plans to have teachers teach virtually from their classrooms beginning October 19.
“We’ve heard from members who want to go back now and members who literally are afraid they will die if they go back,” said Cindy Sexton, president of TABCO, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County. “We needed to kind of take the pulse to see where the people stood.”
TABCO opposes all teachers returning to classrooms October 19.
Sexton said more than half of those surveyed would not return to classrooms if they had the option to continue to teach virtually. About a quarter would consider resigning or retiring if forced to return to school buildings.
About 40% of educators said they would return if proper guidelines are in place. Sexton said that means there are enough teachers for small groups of students in classrooms who are failing at virtual learning.
“We support that,” Sexton said. “We know that there are some kids, it’s not suited for them.”
Williams wants some disabled students, as well as pre-k and kindergarten students to begin returning to classrooms by November 13.
Sexton said more than two-thirds of the union membership filled out the survey.
Williams announced last week his timeline for teachers and some students to return to school buildings. It was quickly denounced by the union, school board members, County Executive Johnny Olszewski, county council members and others because they had no idea it was coming.
School officials have said the timeline is not set in stone and they are open to feedback.