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Amid Covid Worries, Most Parents Plan to Send Their Children Back to School, Survey Shows

by on 13/09/2021 4538

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is more contagious than anything we have seen so far. However, even amid concerns about the virus becoming more transmissible, most parents plan to send their children back to school for in-person learning, a survey by RAND Education and Labor finds.

Image credit: Pine Hills International School

The results of the July 2021 survey represent over 3000 U.S. parents with children aged 5 to 18 years. “Because children under 12 were not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine at the time of this survey, we focused some questions on the youngest school-age child to understand parents’ willingness to send their unvaccinated children to school,” said the RAND researchers.

Credit: Parent survey July 2021 from RAND Corporation

89 percent of parents are willing to send their children back to school to resume physical classes despite an increase in COVID-19 cases during the time when parents took the survey. This is a 4 percent increase from a similarly worded survey done in May.

“With the virus evolving and changing over time, it is possible that these preferences will change. But the survey shows that parents really value in-person learning. Even parents with children under 12 were just as likely to send their children back to school,” suggested the researchers.      

The majority of parents surveyed preferred their child physically in school because their child actually does better academically and socially when they learn in person. Slightly more than half of the group said their child wanted to attend classes in school again.

Credit: Parent survey July 2021 from RAND Corporation

On the other end of the spectrum, parents who were not so opened to the idea of sending their child back to brick-and-mortar classes were mainly concerned that their child might contract COVID-19. In order for them to feel safer, Asian parents especially, needed these practices to be in place before considering whether to send their child back to school: ventilation in each classroom, most teachers vaccinated, social distancing, regular COVID-19 testing of staff and students, mandatory masking, and no group gatherings at mealtimes when masks are off.   

According to the July survey, 83 percent of Asian parents will get their child(ren) vaccinated for COVID-19 when a vaccine is authorised and available for their age, up from 78 percent from the survey conducted in May.