As autumn nears and the coronavirus outbreak wears on, the next school year is becoming more uncertain for many parents. A new survey finds four in five parents are thinking about homeschooling their school-age children this fall. Of those parents, nearly half say they’re seriously considering keeping their kids home in 2020 and 2021.
The poll, commissioned by Crispy Green and conducted by OnePoll, spoke with 2,000 parents to see how families are adjusting to the “new normal” created by COVID-19. Researchers reveal, if given the choice to open or close all schools this fall, one in four parents would not allow children back into the classroom.
Health is the biggest concern for most parents
The vast majority of respondents say the risk of infection is the biggest driving force in considering homeschooling. Among the parents thinking about a virtual education, 81 percent point to increasing health concerns. Eighty-two percent admit they’re more scared to send their kids into a school than ever before.
Parents also worry that once children are back in class, hygiene issues will quickly put schools at risk. About 60 percent of respondents don’t believe their children will properly wash their hands in school. Nearly half the respondents say they’re trying to teach their kids about proper hygiene during the pandemic.
Researchers say a majority of parents are also taking this time in isolation to talk to their children more about safety and the importance of social distancing.
An expensive and time-consuming school year
One of the big takeaways from the poll is how costly COVID-19 will be for parents preparing children for school. Three in four respondents are expecting to spend an extra $147 per child to get them the proper supplies. Those same parents add that getting their kids ready for class will take much longer. They believe prepping to go to school during the pandemic will take an extra 40 minutes each morning.
Despite all the preparations families are making, 77 percent say they won’t be fully prepared for schools to reopen. Many parents have a long list of demands for education officials before they begin to feel comfortable with the idea of going back to school.
Over half, 55 percent, want increased COVID-19 testing and regular temperature checks on school premises. Nearly the same number of parents want smaller class sizes in the fall. Fifty percent want plenty of hand sanitizer available for children, while four in ten parents want schools to use more digital textbooks too.
“Whether kids will be virtually learning from home or going back to their physical school, parents will be hyper-focused on kids’ immune system to ward off ANY potential illnesses … including COVID,” a spokesperson for Crispy Green says in a statement.
The digital generation is coping better with COVID-19
Despite all the uncertainty tied to the next school year, parents know their children are doing a better job of coping with all the changes than they are. Seventy-one percent admit they wouldn’t have handled a pandemic as well when they were children. The representative from Crispy Green believes today’s tech-savvy society is better equipped to deal with such a disruption to in-person learning.
“If this happened 25 years ago, there would be substantially fewer options to successfully manage these challenges.”