AFT West Virginia poll shows majority want to finish school year online

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — AFT West Virginia members, parents, students, and the public were able to weigh in on the looming decisions regarding schools in the Mountain State.

AFT West Virginia created a non-scientific survey on its social media pages on Tuesday to ask what should be done with schools during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Close to 80 percent of the nearly 5,000 respondents believe K-12 schools should remain closed and finish the rest of the school year using distance learning.

Fred Albert

“Even if we have a leveling off here in West Virginia or we reach the apex and we start flattening the curve, there is just too much fear out there with parents, grandparents, teachers, and service personnel,” Fred Albert, President of AFT West Virginia said on Wednesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline.’

The question to the poll that was up for 24 hours was “Do you believe WV public schools should remain closed and finish the rest of the school year using distance learning?”

3,929 respondents said yes while 973 said no. The respondent demographics included 1,996 teachers, 624 school personnel, 249 other school personnel including nurse, counselor, admin., 1,477 parents, 161 students, and 395 other or public.

The latest decision from Gov. Jim Justice on schools came down last week and closed the buildings until at least April 30. All 55 school systems have since moved to distance learning through courses online and/or set up drop learning kits for students.

Albert said he agrees with the polling numbers, especially when he takes into consideration the primary election moving from May 12 to June 9.

He emphasized that if a decision was made to close the physical schools that teachers and students would continue learning until the official end of the school year date. Albert is optimistic that learning would still get done.

“Those who want to will continue, teachers will continue to do the very best. Even after the school year ends, teachers and service personnel we have built relationships with our students and we continue connecting with them forever.”

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