As lawmakers and educators reimagined the K-12 model for fall 2020, an online survey led by Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, assessed parents’ plans in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio for in-person school and support for 15 potential measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools. The online survey included 1,193 parents and guardians of public school children.
The objectives of the survey were (1) to provide policymakers with information on the plans of parents and guardians regarding sending children to school for in-person classes during the 2020-2021 school year; and (2) to provide information on the views of parents and guardians on 15 measures to decrease COVID-19 risk at school.
- Two-thirds of respondents reported that they will likely send all of their children to school; one-third were unsure or were not planning on sending at least one of their children.
- Respondents from low-income households and racial/ethnic minority backgrounds were less likely to report that they plan to send their children to school, raising concerns for potential educational disruption among less advantaged students.
- Support for risk-reduction measures varied. Measures with high support included having fewer children on buses, alternating between in-person and online classes, staggering arrival and pickup times, daily temperature screens of students, testing children if a classmate has COVID-19, weekly random testing of school staff for COVID-19, and requiring face coverings for school staff. Less than half of respondents supported requiring face coverings for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade.
“If the schools here decide to open, then that will mean we are trending in a favorable direction as far as the virus is concerned. I trust the local school districts to make the best decision based on their staff/cleaning/knowledge of the situation,” a parent from Illinois wrote.
As lawmakers, public health experts and educators re-imagine public K-12 schools for fall of 2020, a U-M team surveyed parents about their attitudes and plans to decrease the risk of coronavirus transmission in schools.
Acknowledgments: This policy brief was supported by the IHPI Policy Sprint program, which provides funding and staff assistance to IHPI member-led teams in undertaking rapid analyses to address important health policy questions and develop products that inform decision-making at the local, state, or national level.
Related article: "Factors Associated with School Attendance Plans and Support for COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Measures Among Parents and Guardians," Academic Pediatrics. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2020.11.017