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Press Release

Educators Speak in New Survey: Prioritize Learning by Prioritizing Safety and Vaccines

Becky Pringle: Educators have been adapting, innovating, and showing up for our students every single day
Published: 02/09/2021

WASHINGTON, DCThe National Education Association, the nation’s largest union representing neatly 3 million educators, conducted a survey of members to learn about members’ vaccination rate and access to the COVID-19 vaccine. As of this release, 25 states still have not prioritized educators' access to the vaccine.   

The poll, which surveyed 3,305 members from January 27th to February 3rd, found that the number of educators back to work in physical buildings far outpaces the number of educators being vaccinated. America’s educators want to get back to in-person learning, but only when proper safety measures like CDC-dictated ventilation, mask-use, distancing, cleaning, tracing and testing protocols are met.

Here are the key findings: 

  • 82% of educators have not been vaccinated.
  • 85% believe educators should be prioritized to receive the vaccine.
  • 70% say they will feel safer about working in-person as a result of the vaccine.
  • White educators are twice as likely (20%) as Black members (9%) to have been vaccinated.
  • Members favor a wide range of proposals to make school buildings safer, including near universal support for the following:
    • Requiring those who test positive to isolate according to CDC guidelines
    • Thorough cleaning and disinfection of surfaces
    • Requiring masks and other PPE. 
  • 64% are currently working in school buildings all or part of the time 

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle: 

Educators want nothing more than to be back to in-person learning with our students. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been advocating for the resources to implement CDC-recommended standards and ensure educators are back in person with their students as safely and quickly as possible.   

"But those CDC standards still aren’t being met. Most schools, especially those attended by Black, brown, indigenous, and poor white students have severely outdated ventilation systems and no testing or tracing programs to speak of. It’s time to fund proven mitigation strategies - and it’s far past time for every governor to prioritize educator vaccinations. 

"Educators have been partnering with families leading from the start to serve students. We’ve been adapting, innovating, and showing up for our students every single day — our work has never stopped. Students know this, their families know this too. So, it’s time we all stand together and demand action from those who seek to divide us and look to shift blame to educators in an effort to distract from their failure to provide the resources needed to keep students and educators safe."


Follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @BeckyPringle 

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at 

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.