The majority of U.S. parents believe sending their child to school for in-person learning poses a risk to their own health and well-being due to coronavirus, an Axios/Ipsos poll released Tuesday showed.
President Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen in the Fall, and while some states are crafting plans to make it happen, the Axios/Iposes survey indicated that the majority of parents believe it could jeopardize their health and well-being.
“How much of a risk to your health and well-being is sending your child to school in the fall?” the survey, taken among 219 U.S. parents, asked.
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said the move carried a large or moderate risk, and it was not just a majority of Democrats who felt that way. While 82 percent of Democrats said it posed a large to moderate risk, a slight majority of Republicans, 53 percent, agreed.
Overall, 43 percent said such action carried a “large” risk, followed by 28 percent who chose “moderate,” 22 percent who said “small,” and eight percent who said “no risk.”
Parents were also asked, “How concerned are you with sending your child to school in the fall. Fifty-one percent, overall, said they are either “very” or “extremely” concerned. Another 23 percent said they are “somewhat” concerned, and 23 percent chose either “not very” or “not at all” concerned.
The survey, taken July 10-13, 2020, has a margin of error of 7 percent.
The concerns come as states and localities begin crafting their plans to resume school in the fall. Last week, Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran signed an emergency order, requiring “brick and mortar schools” to reopen in the Fall for students.
It “is critical to the success of the state and to an individual, and extended school closures can impede educational success of students, impact families’ well-being, and limit many parents and guardians from returning to work,” the order stated.
On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the guidance on reopening physical schools across the state.
“So the formula is this: Schools will reopen if that region is in Phase 4 and the daily infection rate remains 5 percent or lower over a 14 day average. Okay?” Cuomo explained.
“It’s that simple, common sense, and intelligence can still determine what we do even in this crazy environment,” he said. “We’re not going to use our children as guinea pigs.”
Officials in Los Angeles, however, have taken a different approach. While the school will resume online, there will not begin the year with in-person learning.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to spread in the Los Angeles area and the virus is going to impact how we start the new school year,” Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner said this week.
“While the new school year will begin on August 18th as scheduled, it will not begin with students at school facilities,” Beutner continued. “The health and safety of all in the school community is not something we can compromise”:
LAUSD students will not return to classroom in August.@LASchools Superintendent says his decision is driven by science: “While the new school year will begin in August, it will not start with students at school facilities” pic.twitter.com/7CPKnqiBJP
— MarlaTellez (@MarlaTellez) July 13, 2020
Trump has emphasized the importance of reopening schools in the fall, warning that the administration may “cut off” funding to schools if they do not reopen — a proposal for which Education Secretary Betsy Devos has also signaled support.
Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has “strongly” advocated for in-person learning to resume this Fall.
“The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020,” the AAP explained.
The AAP also pointed out that the virus tends to behave “differently in children and adolescents than other common respiratory viruses, such as influenza, on which much of the current guidance regarding school closures is based.”