WASHINGTON, DC – The National Education Association, the nation’s largest union representing nearly 3 million educators, has been tracking vaccination rates among NEA members since February. Its most recent survey, conducted by GBAO Strategies, shows 86 percent of members have had a least one shot and only 3 percent are still fully virtual.
The poll, which surveyed nearly 3,000 members between May 19 and May 26, found that only 9 percent of members do not plan to get vaccinated. Here are the key findings:
- The percentage of members vaccinated has skyrocketed. Most members (86 percent) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 49 percent in March.
- An additional 3 percent have scheduled, or intend to schedule, their vaccination.
- A growing number of members feel safer about in-person instruction. Most members said the vaccine has made them feel safer (73 percent) about working in-person, a slight increase from two months ago.
- Most members are working in-person. Only 3 percent of members are doing full virtual learning.
- Improved ventilation in school buildings is a top priority, members say, however only a third report it implemented in their schools. Requiring PPE and enforcing physical distancing for in-person instruction is less important to members now than it was two months ago.
- Members in higher poverty schools are less likely to have adequate ventilation.
- One-third of members report plans to leave education sooner than planned.
The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:
“The vast majority of educators are already back in school buildings serving our best hope for the future: our students. They have gone to extraordinary lengths this year to serve students and their communities, while also tending to their own families — in the midst of a pandemic that took 600,000 lives.
“Educators are ready for the hope and promise of having all of their students learning in-person this fall, knowing there are going to be opportunities and challenges we still must face. Many of our schools need improved ventilation, and other safety-based supports. Mitigation strategies will likely still be needed next school year. Too many of our students of color continue to face inequities (such as poor facilities) because of decades of politicians starving our students and schools of resources. This must stop.
“Recent studies have shown teachers are almost twice as likely to experience job-related stress as the general population and almost three times as likely to experience depression. Our survey data shows a similar trend. We face a looming crisis in losing educators at a time when our students need them most. One out of three NEA members say the pandemic has made them consider retiring or leaving the profession early. Even our earliest career educators report they may leave the education field, at alarming rates. This is a serious problem with potential effects for generations. And the number is higher among our members of color.
“We need to all work together to overcome the challenges and bring forth solutions for our students to thrive. NEA has dedicated itself to ensuring our schools are not just places of learning, but welcoming environments where the rich diversity of our students and our nation are valued, respected and supported.”
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 www.nea.org.
- Celeste Busser