(NBC News) – As schools return this fall the debate on safety of students and those who teach them is reaching a fevered pitch.
An overwhelming number of teachers say it’s simply not safe to go back in the classroom.
Jonte Lee says like all teachers he is eager to be back in front in a class room full of students.
“We miss giving them the high fives, we miss watching them laugh, we miss those opportunities to wear that we can make their lives better,” Lee says.
But the safety of teachers and students has to be the number one priority.
“As much as it pains us, it would be best if we don’t go back until we can figure this thing out,” he adds.
Many teachers have the same COVID-19 concerns. The social networking app Fishbowl conducted a survey and heard from more than 6,000 respondents and teachers.
“We found that 73 percent, so almost three quarters of teachers, were against opening in classrooms teaching right now due to feeling unsafe,” says Fishbowl’s Loren Appin.
Feeling unsafe is the reason Gwen Henshaw left her school after administrators decided to resume in-person instruction. It was a tough choice for her make, and for her students to hear.
“They just said that ‘I heard that you resigned, and I want to let you know that you helped me be who I am’,” she says.
Teachers reluctant to return to the class room say it’s still about the students.
“Our main, main concern is safety of students,” Jonte Lee says.
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