When to get America’s youth back in the classroom has been one of the most hotly contested debates of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new survey conducted by Hart Research* finds that parents feel more comfortable with in-person learning than they did last year.
The National Survey of Public School Parents, conducted online from April 22 to May 3, 2021, found that 73% of parents said they are comfortable with in-person learning for their child this fall. In addition, 85% of the 1,107 parents surveyed said they were highly satisfied with how their child’s school has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, and 81% of parents say their child’s school is providing in-person instruction, either solely (33%) or in a hybrid system (48%).
However, many parents from minority backgrounds are not as enthused, and many Black and Brown parents are struggling with the decision of sending their children back into the classroom. The survey found that 59% of Black parents said they are comfortable with in-person learning for their child this fall.
However, if the safety measures in the AFT’s reopening plan—layered mitigation, testing and vaccines—are in place, the comfort level jumps to 94% of parents, including 87 percent of Black parents.
The survey also found that 69% of all parents polled said that they were fairly or very worried that their child might contract COVID-19 while back at school.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten tells Yahoo Finance that kids should back in the classroom come the fall, but noted that in-person learning does not come without its risks.
“It’s not as if it’s risk-free and we still have to make sure that people who are high risk have some accommodations, but the vaccines have been a big game changer. According to our polling, 89% of our members have either been fully vaxxed or [are] in the process or want it,” she said.
“And you’ve seen a big shift not only in the reduction of fear and the increase of trust, but in all the schools that I’ve been in, since I’ve been fully vaxxed, you’ve seen tremendous joy and confidence that schools can be safe and welcoming places. We have to do the same for parents as we’ve helped to do for educators and I believe that we can do that for the fall,” she said.
* Survey methodology: The National Survey of Public School Parents was done in conjunction with the support of NAACP, the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium surveyed 1,107 public school parents, including samples of 202 Black parents, 200 Hispanic parents, and 200 AAPI parents.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.