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OEA poll shows Oklahoma educators and schools are stressed amid omicron surge

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Amid a raft of closures and pivots to distance learning, teachers reported stress levels so far unseen during the pandemic, according to a survey of Oklahoma Education Association members.

The poll conducted in mid-January reveals that amid the omicron surge, stress levels are rising in schools. Roughly half of the OEA members surveyed reported catching the coronavirus and having the disease shut down a site in their district.

The vast majority described a shortage of substitutes and having to fill in for their coworkers who were out sick.

That reflects the results of a StateImpact tracker of school closures that showed more than 300 sites pivot to distance learning or close because of case numbers this month.

Though the results show chaos in schools, organization leadership called on the public to support teachers and not blame them for getting sick.

“This kind of upheaval causes stress on everyone — students, families, communities, and school employees,” Katherine Bishop, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, said in a press release. “Now is the time to offer support and help, not criticize and blame. Our students need everyone working together to give them the best school year possible, even in these challenging times.”

Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
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