OKC Parents Biggest Back-to-School COVID Concerns - MetroFamily Magazine
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OKC Parents Biggest Back-to-School COVID Concerns

Reading Time: 2 minutes 
Much of the news and community conversations has been focused on schools. Debates about safety and in-person versus virtual learning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is a mounting point of stress for many metro families.
We recently deployed a reader survey to assess parents’ needs, struggles and plans for the 2020/2021 school year. The response we received was overwhelmingly, “overwhelmed,” meaning parents know they need or will need help, but they aren’t sure what that looks like.
Here’s a closer look at how local parents are feeling about the upcoming school year:
What grade is your child(ren)?
  • 35%  Preschool/Kinder.
  • 58%  elementary
  • 39%  middle schoolers
  • 20%  high schoolers
91% of those answering the survey indicated they had kids who attended traditional school, public or private last year.
This fall, how likely are you to send your child(ren) back to a brick-and-mortar school (if/when allowed in your district)?
  • Not likely: 53%
  • Very likely: 36%
  • Unsure: 11%
In light of your district’s circumstances, which school option are you leaning toward for the fall?
  • Virtual through the school district: 32%
  • Brick and Mortar: 30%
  • Hybrid A/B model: 18%
  • Homeschool: 13%
What would make you feel safe to send your child(ren) to school in person?
  • Vaccine: 48%
  • Safety rules: 47%
  • Decrease in cases: 45%
  • Safe now: 21%
  • Nothing/not safe: 11%
Would you consider a CO-OP for virtual and/or homeschool learning in lieu of traditional school?
  • Unsure: 34%
  • Yes: 32%
  • No: 32%
Which safety protocols for returning to school do you feel are most important?
  • Many comments on mask wearing & temperature checks
  • Many comments on cleaning procedures & personal hygiene
  • More social distancing, during physical school but also offering options for less kids in the building at a time. Also lots of requests for virtual learning options.
What’s your biggest concern for the 2020 school year?
  • Children will become infected and spread the virus to their more vulnerable family members
  • The closings of schools shortly after they are reopened and then having to readjust work/school for myself last minute.
  • Social/mental wellbeing
  • Consistency/quality of education
  • I am not qualified to help my child with school — I don’t know what to do
  • I worry for children who without daily school will go hungry and face a higher risk of abuse and neglect.
  • Lots of concern for teachers’ safety and wellbeing, and also not being properly equipped for online/virtual options

Check out this Raising OKC Kids podcast focused on this survey. Editor Erin Page and assistant editor Lindsay Cuomo break down the survey results, including how solutions look in their own households and resources that can help every family.

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