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Educators afraid of returning to Cy-Fair ISD schools amid pandemic, survey reveals

CYPRESS, Texas – A group of community advocates made up of Cy-Fair Independent School District parents, educators, nurses and a psychologist crafted a 10-question anonymous informal survey for teachers, faculty and staff. The goal of the survey was to make sure the decision-makers are keeping their safety in mind as Cy-Fair ISD leaders move forward with reopening plans.

Results

  • Thus far, there have been 1063 responses of which 755 were from the Cy-Fair ISD community
  • Respondents include general and special education teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, mental health professionals, school nurses, and other support staff (e.g., clerical, IT, transportation)
  • Respondents are incredibly committed to public education, with 74% of respondents reporting the had 11 or more years of service
  • They are afraid of returning to school for in-person instruction.
  • 100% of respondents report some degree of fear
  • 68% fear for themselves
  • 76% fear for members of their household
  • 77% fear for their students
  • 78% fear for the public
  • 61% report that they or someone in their household has at least one known risk factor associated with COVID-19
  • 87% of respondents report that the anticipated return to school has caused new or worsening mental and/or physical health problems

Mental health

    • Anxiety — 81%
    • Sleep problems — 58%
    • Irritability/Anger — 26%
    • Depression — 19%
    • Attention/Memory problems — 18%
    • Alcohol/Other substance abuse — 4%

Physical health

    • Headaches — 31%
    • Unintended weight changes — 23%
    • High blood pressure — 16%
    • Gastrointestinal problems — 13%
    • Asthma — 7%
    • Cardiac problems — 3%
  • 69% indicated that the district has not adequately assessed their needs and concerns for the return to school
  • 74% indicated that the district has not adequately sought their input in your planning and decision-making
  • 71% indicated that the district has not been transparent with them in planning and decision-making
  • 76% indicated that the district has prioritized parents’ preferences over their safety and well-being
  • 66% indicated that the district has not provided teachers with adequate information, training, and support for providing distance learning
  • As committed as they are to their students and careers, 39% are considering leaving their jobs due to these issues.

Limitations

The surveyors had to rely on social media and word of mouth as they did not have access to contact information for CFISD staff or school staff statewide. As a result, surveyors feel they have only been able to reach a small percentage of Texas school staff and results may not reflect all perspectives.

Cy-Fair ISD Superintendent Dr. Mark Henry told KPRC 2 he’s been working on reopening plans since April and that he’s received a lot of input from students, parents and teachers. The creators of the survey said Cy-Fair ISD has done a good job so far but they need to do better. They plan on sharing the results with the school board and the Texas Education Agency.


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