COLUMBIA, S.C. — A recent poll by the organization SC for Ed said they found many teachers in the state have health conditions that put them at a higher risk for the coronavirus.
"We are not statistics are kids are not statistics they are human beings," SC for Ed Board Member and Teacher Nicole Walker said.
Walker said their teacher advocacy group polled more than 7,000 educators about returning to school and found around 42% of them could be at a heightened risk due to other health conditions they have.
"It wasn’t a huge surprise for us. We created the survey because we were talking about the number of teachers that we knew in our own lives who had a higher risk, so we wondered would that be the case across the state if we were to create a survey," Walker said.
Walker said in three days they had more than 7,000 responses from teachers across the state.
"We understand to reopen the economy fully we need to get kids back in school, but we are not willing to look at our children or our adults as statistics," Walker said. "They are individual human beings who have families and we think the upmost attention should go to ensuring their safety.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, people with health conditions such as obesity, serious heart conditions and type 2 diabetes, which were on the survey, are at an increased risk when it comes to COVID-19.
As for Walker, she said she not only worried about contracting the virus, but fears to bring it home.
"It’s a situation that we feel no one should have to decide between risking their own safety or providing for their families, especially when we have virtual options," Walker said.
Nearly 65% of those who took part in the survey reported at least one health condition that would put them at risk.