An exclusive poll organized by USA TODAY/Ipsos found a stunning amount of teachers may not be returning to their classrooms if reopened this fall.
The poll showed that 1 in 5 teachers said they were unlikely to go back, with close to two-thirds saying they haven't been able to conduct their jobs properly amid the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm on a committee with my district talking about the what-ifs, because we don't have answers on what is going to happen," J.W. White, a middle school teacher in Fort Worth, TX who took the survey told USA TODAY. "The expectation of parents and society is we're sending our children to be educated in a safe environment, and how we're going to provide that safe environment is completely unknown."
A separate poll taken by parents with at least one child in grades K-12 found that 30% of parents say they are "very likely" to explore alternative options such as at-home learning instead of sending their child back to school in the fall.
The surveys put a spotlight on the ever-changing dynamics of resuming daily routines, as the pandemic swept away American life as we knew it from work to the education system and child care.
The disruptions to the education system will be felt as the new school year approaches and beyond, while many teachers have already been thrust into new roles that many say they weren't well trained for.