Remote teaching is taking a physical and emotional toll on teachers in Evanston/Skokie School District 65.
A just-completed District survey of staff members saw 47% strongly agreeing that they are “concerned about their mental health and well being” this fall.
That is more than double the 22% who had the same level of concern after e-learning began in the spring. District 65 has not had in-person school since the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-March.
As for physical health, 45% strongly agree that they are concerned now, versus only 18% in the spring.
The findings were presented to the District 65 Board of Education’s virtual meeting Monday night.
Board member Sergio Hernandez said the district needs to “be as helpful as possible” so teachers can address these concerns. Hernandez noted teachers are leaving the profession in larger numbers nationwide as a result of the stress of remote education.
The survey also found parents/guardians are concerned about their children’s mental and physical health, although by much lower numbers. Twenty-three percent of parents strongly agree with concerns about mental health and stress, and 11% strongly agree with concerns regarding physical well-being. Both categories show small increases over the spring.
Despite health concerns for their children, parents and guardians seem happier with remote education now. Forty-eight percent rate their children’s overall experience as good or very good this fall, versus 37% in the spring.
Students will be surveyed separately.
Meantime, Superintendent Devon Horton indicated financial problems for the District are on the horizon. Horton told the Board there will be finance committee meetings where “opportunities for budget reductions” will be discussed. There is a special meeting for that panel scheduled this Thursday morning at eight.
Horton also repeated the District’s goal of opening in-person school on Jan. 19 for parents who choose that option for their children. “We’re ready to launch,” he said … assuming health conditions allow. Right now, that possibility looks remote. COVID-19 positivity rates “are through the roof,” he said.