- A survey of 1,006 public school parents conducted online by the National Parents Union finds just over half of respondents, or 51%, want their children learning in-person full-time next year. Still, parents would also like options, with 56% reporting they want a choice between in-person and remote learning.
- While 72% rated their school's communication with parents as "excellent" or "good," just 28% said their schools had communicated plans for how they'll use federal COVID-19 relief funding, and only 22% said parents had been asked for input or feedback on how to spend the money.
Parents also remain most concerned about schools providing resources to support student mental health, personalized learning, remote learning and enough instructional time. Asked what should be prioritized or considered very important in relief spending, parents' top concerns were computers and high-speed internet access for students (82%), services and support for students with disabilities (81%), free breakfast and lunch program (78%), counselors and school psychologists (77%), face masks and sanitizer (76%), and curriculum and training to provide inclusive education for all students (74%).
Of the National Parents Union survey respondents, 49% also reported they do not currently have the option to work from home.
For additional context, a recent review of 100 urban and large districts conducted by the Center on Reinventing Public Education found only 36% had plans to offer remote learning for the 2021-22 school year, while 64% either did not provide a remote or hybrid option, or provided no information.
An earlier survey released by RAND Corporation in 2020 corroborates that fewer than half of districts have plans to continue virtual school models, with about 20% of districts saying they planned to do so after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those districts cited virtual school demand from parents and students as reasons to continue the option. However, some state governors have eliminated or restricted options for virtual school all together, including New Jersey, Florida and Illinois.
The RAND survey also found alignment with parents' concerns around resources, with district leaders saying students' social-emotional learning needs and insufficient funding to pay staff were among their top concerns.
Still, some districts are focusing their energy on easing families back to in-person learning and alleviating their concerns by involving parents in the decision-making process, allowing them time to process district decisions and offering customized, in-person schedules.