Teachers, Administrators, and Staff Say Online Instruction Safest Way to Open Right Now

AUGUST 7, 2020. More than three-quarters of Iredell-Statesville Schools employees favor reopening the district’s schools under Plan C according to a survey conducted by Our Schools First. The survey, which was published ahead of the Monday’s I-SS Board of Education meeting, revealed a broad level of discomfort with the district’s current plan to begin in-person instruction later this month.

“Throughout my tenure with I-SS, we have always been a forerunner in the use of data-driven decision making,” one classroom teacher wrote in a survey response. “The current Covid-19 data in our county shows that Iredell-Statesville schools should not open up with the hybrid model in Plan B but instead switch to Plan C.”

Seventy-six percent of survey respondents indicated they felt Plan C, under which a majority of students receive their classes online, was safest for students, faculty and staff. Most respondents cited student wellness as a primary motivator for avoiding an in-person return, with one educator emphasizing, “Education is not more important than lives.”

The 24 percent of I-SS employees who preferred Plan B were most likely not to have personal health complications or family members with compromised health that could make it dangerous to return to in-person instruction.

If the district shifts to Plan C, nearly 70 percent of respondents felt confident or very confident that teachers would be able to deliver a high-quality education for their students. Survey respondents also strongly supported district action ensuring that bus drivers, teacher assistants, cafeteria workers, and other classified staff remain employed, even if opening under Plan C.

OS1’s survey received 576 submissions, representing approximately a quarter of Iredell-Statesville’s workforce. The organization intends to share overall survey results with the district’s administration and Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Board of Education, which have backed Plan B in recent meetings.

Our Schools First is a non-partisan 501(c)(4) supporting public education in Iredell County and across North Carolina.

NOTE: A more detailed look at OS1’s survey results will be published soon.