An Ipsos poll conducted for USA Today found something perhaps not all too surprising to parents of elementary aged children. According to the poll, which surveyed 2,000 American parents of kids in K-12 learning settings, despite over half of respondents supporting a range of proposals for reopening schools to in-classroom learning, still, 59 percent of parents will likely not return their children to traditional, in-building public school settings in the fall. Another 30 percent said they were “very likely” to not return their children to the classroom setting.
But while this survey is a snapshot of how many American parents feel about schools reopening, it might not be all that accurate in the big picture. After all, how many American parents can actually afford to continue distance learning? Right now, the situation is that parents can basically either have a kid or a job. That is not sustainable, economically.
Still, the results do speak to some common concerns that parents likely have about schools reopening, and all of them are valid. 68 percent of respondents said they doubted their child could follow social distancing guidelines in schools, and those who were unlikely to send their kids back to school had a lot of concern about putting their children in that setting before a vaccine has been discovered and implemented.
Part of the problem with the survey is that it seems to survey parents who only have the means, and home situation, to continue with long-distance learning. For example, 94 percent of parents who responded had reliable home internet; but in states like Arkansas, per NBC News, 23% of households don’t have access to the internet at all, making distance learning near impossible for those households.
This could suggest that those parents who are ready to take their kids out of schools have a certain status and wealth level that most American parents, frankly, do not. And even if parents are concerned about public health and sending their kids back to schools, they might be forced to if schools reopen, if they don’t have internet, or if they are one of the many millions of the majority of American parents who both work full-time.
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