An internal survey conducted by Wayzata Public Schools reveals that the majority of teachers and staff are comfortable with returning to the classroom in the fall.
All 1,801 district staff members were invited to respond to the survey, which was administered from June 22 to 30. A total of 1,267 teachers and staff, or 80 percent, completed the survey, according to a summary of the poll obtained by Alpha News.
Wayzata Public Schools operates 15 schools in the west metro area and serves 12,720 students.
The results varied based on the work location of the respondents. Sixty-eight percent of elementary teachers, for instance, said they are either “very comfortable” or “comfortable” with returning to in-person instruction. Another 61 percent of middle-school staff and 63 percent of high-school staff said the same.
Of the 610 elementary teachers and staff who participated in the survey, 46 percent said they would prefer a “100 percent face-to-face” teaching model for the fall. Thirty-eight percent of middle-school employees and 41 percent of high-school employees concurred.
Just 12 percent of elementary-school staff, 17 percent of middle-school staff, and 15 percent of high-school staff said they would like a “100 percent distance learning” model for the upcoming school year.
More than 80 percent of teachers and staff across all grade levels said they would return to Wayzata Public Schools if the district implements in-person instruction.
“Several respondents encouraged in-person instruction for relationship building, quality of learning and student social emotional well-being,” a summary of the survey said. “They are ready to go back. Some cited that daycare is working well with temperature checks and student illness policies.”
The summary said other respondents had concerns “about students wearing masks, saying it would be difficult to enforce” and “young students will touch their face more.”
“There were also concerns about teaching with a mask on all day. Students will not be able to understand instructions. Some suggested that the district provide face shields for teachers,” it continued.
Under Gov. Tim Walz’s “Safe Learning Plan” issued Thursday, students and educators at schools offering in-person classes are required to wear masks. In order to return to in-person instruction, a county needs to have fewer than nine cases per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period.
An informal survey of Minnesota parents conducted by the Department of Education found that 64 percent of respondents would feel comfortable sending their children back to school in September. Of that 64 percent, 94 percent said they would send their children back to school full time.
Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers union, maintains that teachers don’t want to return to the classroom in the fall, according to the results of a survey of its members.