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Poll shows support for educators' COVID-19 concerns; but majority think teachers should be in class

Last Updated Aug 19, 2020 at 7:26 am EDT

A Sept. 2010 file photo of veteran Kindergarten teacher Olga Kobylanksy readying her classroom for the upwards of 26 young children that will be attending her full-day kindergarten class at James Bell Junior/Middle School in Etobicoke. She had the help of an Early Childhood Educator. (Photo by Tannis Toohey/via Getty Images)
Summary

65 per cent of Ontario parents said teachers shouldn't be forced to work should they think it's not safe for everyone


60 per cent of Ontario parents said teachers should be back in the classroom much like other frontline workers


61 per cent of those surveyed do not believe teachers should be fired and replaced should they have safety concerns


A new poll shows a majority of Ontario parents think teachers should return to the classrooms despite the coronavirus pandemic, though they also said they support educators who refuse to work due to safety concerns.

The MARU/BLUE public opinion poll found about 60 per cent of Ontario parents with school-aged children think teachers should be back in the classroom and should adapt to the new reality, much like other frontline workers have had to do during the pandemic.

However, the poll also indicated 65 per cent of the respondents think teachers shouldn’t be forced to work should they think it’s not safe for themselves or their students.

The polling firm said people who supported this view was highest among elementary student parents at 68 per cent, compared with secondary school student parents at 62 per cent.

A minority of Ontario parents — around 39 per cent or four in ten — said teachers should be fired and possibly replaced should they not be able to demonstrate that a compromised health situation could make them vulnerable to COVID-19.

Within that group, about 35 per cent of parents of elementary school students supported the firing or replacement of teachers. Around 44 per cent of parents of secondary school students held this view, the firm said.

Despite this, the polling firm noted that a majority of the parents — around 61 per cent — do not believe teachers should be fired and replaced over safety concerns.

This view was held “especially among elementary student parents (65 per cent) compared to secondary school parents (56 per cent) and those in the GTA (55 per cent),” the polling firm said.

The complete poll can found on MARU/BLUE website.

The Maru/Blue Public Opinion Poll was conducted among 761 ( plus or minus 4.1 per cent) randomly selected Ontario parents of elementary and secondary aged students who are members of Maru/Blue‘s online panel from Aug. 14-17, 2020 and is considered accurate using a Bayesian Credibility Interval for 761 (plus or minus 4.1 per cent), 402 elementary student parents  (plus or minus 5.6 per cent), 359 secondary school parents (plus or minus 5.9 per cent), and a combined total of parents in the  Greater Toronto Area (GTA ) of 360  (plus or minus 5.9 per cent ).