A new poll shows that while parents are worried about COVID-19 spreading at a higher rate if kids return to school, they are also concerned about their children falling behind in their schoolwork and social development.
The poll was conducted by The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It shows that 69% of parents are “Somewhat” or “Extremely/Very concerned” about their children falling behind academically in school, while 68% show the same level of concern over their children falling behind socially.
Parents also expressed worry over in-person classes leading to more COVID-19 cases. Sixty-four percent of the poll’s respondents stated that they were “Somewhat” or “Extremely/Very concerned” about “infections resulting from in-person schooling.” While the number of parents that are “Extremely/Very concerned” about their children falling behind socially or academically remains at 42% in both categories, parents that are “Extremely/Very concerned” about the rise of infections is only 33%.
Thirty-six percent of parents said that they are “Not very/Not at all concerned” about the rise of infection rates from resuming in-person classes. Twenty-nine percent and 31% of parents said that they are “Not very/Not at all concerned” about children falling behind socially or academically, respectively.
Last July, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs conducted a similar poll that showed around half of parents said they were “at least somewhat concerned about their child losing services like school lunches or counseling because of the pandemic.” More said they were “worried about their child falling behind academically: 55% are very concerned, with another 21% somewhat concerned.” 65% of parents were “at least somewhat concerned about their own ability to juggle responsibilities,” according to the AP.
The Biden administration has stepped into the debate over schools reopening. It is pushing for states to vaccinate teachers as they continue to administer vaccines. As the AP reported on Tuesday, however, “…Americans disagree on the need for teacher vaccines. About 4 in 10 say it’s essential, while about a third say it’s important but not essential.”
Last week, the administration also announced that it would be giving schools $10 billion from the COVID relief act in order to add more testing to schools so they can reopen. The Daily Wire reported: “The Department of Education also released a detailed list of how $122 billion of the COVID relief act would be allocated to each state for schools to reopen. The funds can be used for more Wi-Fi hotspots, hiring workers, funding programs including summer school, and more.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released more relaxed guidelines late last week that may allow more students to welcome a greater number of students into the classroom at one time.
The CDC announced new guidelines on Friday, stating that 3 feet of distance is acceptable within schools after nearly a year of Americans abiding by the 6-feet social distancing rule.
A recent Clinical Infectious Disease study in Massachusetts schools showed that there was no major difference between rates of COVID-19 among students who were 3 feet apart from one another or 6 feet apart from one another. The study found, “Student case rates were similar in the 242 districts with ≥3 feet versus ≥6 feet of physical distancing between students … Cases among school staff in districts with ≥3 feet versus ≥6 feet of physical distancing were also similar…”
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