Anxiety, fear and stress are a common sentiment as the world navigates the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. From world leaders to businesses and industries to schools and to households, preventing exposure and stopping the spread of the coronavirus is in the forefront of people's minds.
Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) are no different. The union recently announced the results of a survey asking various questions about the possibility of returning to face-to-face instruction on campus for the fall semester.
Universities around the country have formed action plans and worked to create plans to function in person with maximum protection and benefit for students. And while the majority of campus populations consist of its students, the faculty and staff also share the burden of the coronavirus.
Over half of the APSCUF members who responded to a recent survey believe face-to-face learning will not be safe in the fall 2020.
According to the survey, 40% of APSCUF members surveyed reported that they have medical conditions that raise their risk for the virus-related complications. More than 60% of members are also worried about the risk of transmitting the coronavirus to their families, the survey said.
Almost 90% of members reported they are experiencing more stress and anxiety about returning to campus compared to last year, according to the survey.
In a press release, APSCUF President Jamie Martin called responses to the survey “sobering.” While the coronavirus has presented a significant challenge, Martin clarified that members of APSCUF want to teach but do not want to become sick.
“We know there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for the fall semester, but our goal with this survey was to assess the level of concern of our members regarding the upcoming term — and faculty clearly do not feel safe teaching face-to-face classes,” Martin said. “It also demonstrates the belief that not all university reopening plans put student, staff, and faculty health at the forefront. Faculty should have the option to work remotely if they are concerned about the health of their loved ones and themselves.”
APSCUF sent the electronic survey to about 4,800 faculty members. The survey garnered a 66% response rate, with around 3,200 discussing their views and concerns about fall 2020 reopening plans, according to a release.