The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly changed the way educators across the world teach and care for their students. In Missouri, factors like food insecurity and lack of online resources or at-home assistance, weighed heavily on educators. MSTA surveyed members March 31-April 15 about the impact of the response to COVID-19 to their students, schools and communities. Of the 3,440 educators who responded, 79 percent were classroom teachers, with responses also coming from paraprofessionals, administrators, administrative assistants, library/media specialists, interventionalists and instructional coaches.
We sincerely appreciate all those who took time to respond to our survey during this unprecedented time.
Remote learning impact on school district employees
55% of respondents are caretakers for children under age 18. This adds additional strain on their ability to teach remotely from home. 46% of respondents or a member of their household are in a high-risk category regarding the COVID-19 virus.
1100 respondents have spent their own money on either licenses or materials to support out-of-school learning. Throughout the survey, a few themes were clear regarding worries for the future.
- Respondents are worried about going back to school buildings too soon and seeing further spread of the virus, as well as the possibility of bringing the virus home to high-risk members of their household.
- Worry about the loss of instructional time and the inability for students to catch up
- Mental health concerns for students and teachers.
- There is uneasiness about continuing to be paid as well as the possibility of budget cuts to schools resulting in loss of salary, as well as program cuts In the future.
- Concern that students who receive special education services aren’t able to get the help they need remotely.
Remote learning impact on students and community
Students and their families experienced lots of changes due to the shift to remote learning. With many students having no access to internet at home, districts had to craft other ways of providing instruction.
What percentage of your students do you estimate have reliable access to online learning devices?
In many cases, districts offered mobile hotspots to students without internet access as well as devices for students to use online. They distributed paper packets of materials for students who didn’t have a way to get online at home.
What non academic needs do you anticipate your students and their families will have during the school closure?
Respondents are worried about their students not having welfare checks while schools are closed to ensure that abuse and neglect are reported. They also worry that without attending school in person, students would not have internet access or the ability to acquire hygiene products. Missing extracurricular activities was also a concern.
What other service(s) is your district providing to students during the school closure?
When asked “Is there something your school or district is doing well to support students and/or educators which can serve as a model for other students and districts in Missouri?,” many respondents mentioned their district is using various means of communication to stay in contact with students and families: remind app, Facebook, Zoom, email, Google hangout, posting videos of story time on social media. Districts are also helping families meet other needs by providing hygiene care packages, hotspots for students without internet access, school supplies, access to mental health resources for students and school employees, and meals to any student, regardless of eligibility for free/reduced lunch. (View full PDF here)