The latest Ipsos poll shows that while most Americans are hopeful about our ability to control COVID-19, parents across the country remain concerned for their children’s safety as they return to school. Here’s what parents reported about the current state of schools reopening in fall 2020.
What Parents Are Reporting
More than half of parents with a child under 18 have reported that school has started, but what that looks like varies wildly. It seems that virtual learning is becoming more prevalent as students start the school year.
“Since last week, the number of parents saying they have sent their child back virtually/via distance learning has risen 10 points (46% now, up from 36%),” according to Ipsos. Only about 20%, or one in five parents, report their children returning in-person in a full-time or hybrid model. Of those schools that are offering in-person learning, 22% have reported COVID-19 scares or outbreaks in their child’s school or school district since the beginning of the school year.
It also appears that the only thing that is certain this school year is uncertainty. Many school districts laid out initial plans for the return to school and have had to change or modify them before or shortly after the school year began. Indeed, 48% of parents have reported that their district had to change their schooling plans after the school year began.
“It speaks to the high level of uncertainty parents, schools and children are facing right now,” Mallory Newall, Director of Research at Ipsos, tells Parentology.
Those students returning in person are most likely following specific safety protocols mandated by their districts. While parents and students are anxious to return to school in person, safety remains a real concern for almost all of the parents surveyed. In fact, 80% of parents reported that they were at least “somewhat concerned” about the possibility of their child getting sick as schools return. That concern coupled with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has many believing that the “traditional” school model will continue to morph and most likely continue to include some form of virtual learning.
More Americans than ever – 58% – report knowing someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and 22% of people polled report knowing someone who has died from COVID-19. Even with those increasing numbers, Americans remain optimistic, with 57% reporting that they are “hopeful” that the U.S. will have the pandemic under control within the next six months.
How that “control” plays out for schools and education in the U.S. remains to be seen.
Schools Reopening in Fall 2020
Mallory Newall, Director of Research, Ipsos