Although several states are reopening for business, a new survey found that a majority of parents are prioritizing the safety and health of their children and communities in wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
A poll released by the National Parents Union found that around 75% of parents across the country think schools should only reopen when COVID-19 is no longer a health risk, even if that means that students will fall further behind. Just 22% of parents, on the other hand, say schools should reopen as soon as possible.
The poll also revealed that 8 out of 10 parents want schools to implement new measures when they do reopen, including notifying all parents if and when a student or staff member is ill and providing counseling and mental health services. In addition, they want students and teachers to have the option to learn or teach from home. Furthermore, about 75% of parents support staggering schedules while 70% say face masks should be mandated for students and staff.
“The voice of parents must be heard loud and clear: we will not let our children return to school until it is absolutely safe to do so”, said Keri Rodrigues, the founding president of the National Parents Union, in a statement sent to BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Our children are not guinea pigs. They are our sons and daughters whose health and safety must be paramount above all else. When school leaders, government officials, and medical professionals can make us, as parents, feel comfortable that it is safe for our kids to return, that’s when we’ll do so and not a second sooner.”
Because of the pandemic, 61% of parents say that schools should come up with new, innovative ways to educate students moving forward. On the other hand, only 32% of parents want the education systems to continue to operate the same way they did before the novel crisis.
Parents are also more concerned about education and their families’ wellbeing than their finances. According to a press release:
81% of parents are worried about their kids missing important social interactions at school or with friends, and the same percentage of parents are worried about making sure their child stays on track in school. Nearly the same say they are worried about themselves or a family member contracting coronavirus (80%). And more than three fourths say they are worried about how the situation is affecting their child’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Meanwhile, economic concerns don’t rank quite as high, although still a significant issue, as 69% of parents say they are worried about making ends meet.
“Our instinct, as parents, is to always put our kids’ wellbeing above all else, even as many lie awake wondering how to pay the rent,” Rodrigues continued. “Every single day our hearts break as we worry how this crisis is impacting them, whether it be their mental health or their ability to keep up in school. But make no mistake, our kids are learning- they’re learning grit, perseverance and empathy, attributes that they will carry with them for life.”