Historically, major public health issues, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, trigger abruptHistorically, major public health issues, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, trigger abruptand radical changes in daily life, thus causing severe psychological distress to the population.The ease with which the virus seems to be transmitted, combined with the exponentiallyrising number of new cases and the social distancing measures applied, create an atmosphereof fear and alarm. This, in turn, has a pivotal effect on the population’s mental health. The aimof this study is to initially investigate the psychological effects of the new COVID-19 pandemic onsecondary school teachers, who in addition to the general aggravation take on the burden of forcedabstinence from their regular work duties and the simultaneous need to adapt themselves to the unprecedentedprocess of distance learning. This is a cross-sectional study in secondary school teachersand was conducted using simple random sampling at the beginning of the pandemic in Greece. Thex2 test was used to examine associations between psychological and other variables. 34% of teacherswere found to feel anxious and very anxious during the pandemic, while only 8% of teachers exhibitsevere depressive emotions. It is also clear that the educators as a professional group are predominantlypossessed by optimism about the outcome of the pandemic, as 71.5% was placed in the higherlevels of the relevant scale. Female gender was found to have a positive correlation to feelings of fear,depression, and a negative correlation to optimism. Furthermore, a negative correlation between theteachers’ high educational level and their feelings of optimism emerged from the data. This optimismmay well be related with the large acceptance of the measures taken by the government to curb theexpansion of the pandemic. Finally, it was found that distance teaching, which was abruptly and unpreparedlyimplemented by educators on account of the pandemic, was not a major concern. Thefindings of our study indicate a specific profile of secondary school teachers characterized by mentalresilience, a quality that must be exploited and strengthened by the state with appropriate interventionsin order to maximize their complex, creative work.

Key words: Pandemic, COVID-19, education, fear, depression, optimism, mental resilience.

P. Stachteas, Ch. Stachteas (page 293)

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