More North Dakota teachers willing to return to classroom

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A survey sponsored by a union that supports North Dakota teachers shows more willingness by instructors and staff to return to the classroom, thanks to a drop in COVID-19 cases.

The report by DFM Research of St. Paul, Minnesota said 52% of the 501 teachers and education support professionals who were interviewed said they felt safe returning to full-time, in=person learning. That's up from 31% in October, according to North Dakota United, the education and public workers union.

Even so, the survey revealed that many teachers are considering another profession due to increased stress and burnout stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The union said that could make it difficult to recruit and retain teachers, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

“Should teachers, who are experiencing very high levels of stress, leave the profession early, we may well be pushed into a teacher shortage crisis,” North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta said in a statement.

North Dakota health officials on Thursday confirmed 152 new COVID-19 cases out of more than 7,400 tests in the last day, a positivity rate of 2.4%. A total of 96,320 people have tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

The state reported 13 deaths due to the coronavirus in the last day, boosting the total to 1,400 fatalities. Hospitalizations fell from 55 to 54 in the last 24 hours.