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Survey: Most teachers to return, but worried about health

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Most Maine teachers intend to return to classrooms this fall, but they’re concerned about their health during the pandemic. And they don’t have much faith in their students following safety protocols.

The survey provided by the Maine Department of Education to families, educators, support staff and school leaders last month indicates both teachers and parents share concerns about how well students will adhere to safety requirements necessary for schools to reopen.

Only 35% of parents said they believe students will be able to avoid physical contact and maintain social distancing, and only 38% said they believe students will wear masks, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Among educators, only 14% agreed or strongly agreed that students would be able to avoid physical contact and only 22% agreed or strongly agreed with the ability of students to wear masks, it said.

More than 45,000 people responded to the surveys, including 32,426 families, 9,733 teachers, 1,155 school or district leaders, and 1,823 school support staff. There are about 182,500 preK-12 students in Maine and about 50,100 people work in public schools.

All told, about 80% of school workers said they plan to be return to work, the survey said. And nearly as many, 76% to 77%, had concerned about their own health. They had even greater concerns for their students’ health.

Among parents 71% of respondents said they intend to send their children to school even though nearly 60% were concerned about the health and safety of the children.

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