Survey Reveals Missouri Educators Concerned for Safety of Students and Co-Workers as COVID-19 Cases Increase


From the Missouri National Education Association
1810 E. Elm St., Jefferson City, MO 65101

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Mark Jones
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JEFFERSON CITY – Today, the Missouri National Education Association released results from a survey of 24,270 Missouri educators. In the survey, educators expressed strong concerns about keeping students safe, a lack of specificity in local district plans, stress at home, and paying out of pocket to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE). Educators seek more training in virtual instruction and are optimistic about their school’s preparations for virtual education.  

“No one wants our students back in schools more than educators, but we must prioritize student and educator safety,” said Phil Murray, a Poplar Bluff teacher and president of the Missouri National Education Association.  “Wednesday, Missouri was tagged as a ‘red zone’ state by the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force. Our state is experiencing a startling rise in new cases of COVID-19 among children and college-aged adults, accounting for 22% of cases just weeks before schools and colleges begin instruction.”

Key findings from the survey:  

  • Safety should guide district decisions: 78.6% of Missouri educators said districts should not rush to meet an arbitrary opening date, but instead should focus on opening when safe. 
  • Educators want a voice in reopening plans: 77.8% of Missouri educators think they should have a say in approving in-person instruction plans. 
  • Educators are skeptical about the availability of PPE: Only 4.8% of Missouri educators strongly believe their district will provide appropriate and adequate PPE.  
  • Safety plans lack clarity: Only a handful of educators (1.6%) strongly agree with the statement, “There is a clear plan and the physical space to ensure adequate social distancing.” Only 3.7% say their school has clear safety protocols.  
  • Districts spent the summer preparing for virtual education: 72.1% of educators agree that their school district has the resources to ensure that every student can access learning materials for remote instruction. 
  • Educators are digging into their own pockets for necessary cleaning and PPE supplies: An overwhelming number of educators (80.4%) expect to spend personal funds on essential cleaning supplies and PPE for themselves and students.  

“Local districts experiencing increased cases of COVID-19 should use this time to prepare for virtual instruction, create engaging lessons and, ensure equity of access to remote learning materials,” said Pres. Murray. “A rushed reopening, where elected officials insist children are ‘gonna get over it’ puts students, educators, parents, and families at risk. As educators, children are at the center of every decision we make. Now is the time to focus on keeping them safe, nurturing their love of learning, and crafting robust plans for returning to in-person instruction when COVID-19 cases recede.”  

A complete summary of the survey with graphics and regional results is located at this link  



The 32,000-member Missouri NEA represents teachers, education support professionals, college faculty, retired teachers, and students studying to be teachers in school districts and on college campuses throughout the state. It is the Missouri affiliate of the 3 million-member National Education Association.  


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