4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Poll finds many parents worried about back-to-school as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Posted at 7:36 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 07:36:30-04

(WSYM) — As parents get their kids ready for the new school year, some concerns are outweighing others.

A new national poll on childrens' health by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital shows that families are bringing last year's worries into the upcoming school year.

Some of the biggest worries come about repeating virtual schools, academic gaps, and the vaccination rate for kids.

"One of the things that this poll found are - kids are anxious about going back to school," Sarah Clar, the poll's co-director, said.

Many kids will begin the first day of school next week, and researchers want parents to be prepared as much as possible as their kids get ready to take on another school year while the pandemic roars back once again.

"Honestly, 1 in 3 parents said there was at least one element of the last school year that was better for their kids than the year before," Clark added.

She said not every child had a bad virtual experience last year.

According to the poll, 25% of parents said "academics were better."

"Different kids will do better with the virtual interaction. Some kids are self-learners," she said.

While virtual works for some children, other students fell behind.

"56 percent of parents from this national sample said at least one element of last year was worse for their kid," she added.

On top of that, 12% said all four elements were worse for their kids – academic performance, connecting with students, and relationships with other students.

Clark said most children who had a terrible experience spent more time in virtual learning.

"We know that those two things are connected that it really disrupted their experiences," she said.

According to the poll:

  • 26% of parents are worried about virtual school again
  • 24% are concerned about being around large groups
  • 22% are concerned about being behind on academics
  • 22% are concerned about getting along with their friends.
  • 62% of parents would feel safer with higher school vaccination rates

Clark said going back to school is a process, and it's the parents' job to make sure students are successful without stress.

"Parents need to fight back tendency to push too hard but you're not going to make up last year in the first month of school," Clark said.