With the back-to-school season approaching fast, questions are swirling in the minds of many Canadian parents. Exactly how COVID-19 precautions will play out in schools is not necessarily clear. While some parents will see their children return to school in person, others’ children will attend school online (or attend both in-person and online classes).
Are parents of children who will be attending school in person concerned about their children contracting COVID-19? Do Canadians feel that it is safe for children to return to school in September (and how does this vary based on how old the children are)? Do the risks of allowing children to return to school outweigh the potential benefits?
We surveyed over 1,500 Canadians to learn more about their perspectives!
WILL THEIR CHILDREN BE ATTENDING CLASSES IN PERSON OR ONLINE?
We asked Canadian parents of children under 18 who are returning to school in September 2020 to specify whether their children will be attending online classes, in-person classes, or a combination of the two.
- About one-in-ten (11%) indicated their children will only be attending online classes;
- About one-third (32%) indicated their children will only be attending in-person classes; and
- Just over a quarter (26%) indicated their children will be attending both online and in-person classes.
At this time, nearly one-third (31%) indicated that they are unsure what format of classes their children will be attending in September 2020.
ARE PARENTS CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN CONTRACTING COVID-19 WHEN THEY RETURN TO SCHOOL?
Overall, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Canadian parents whose children under 18 are returning to school in person in September 2020 (at least in part) are concerned about their children contracting COVID-19 when they return to school.
A very similar proportion (62%) are concerned that they personally will contract COVID-19 when their children under 18 return to school.
DO CANADIANS THINK IT IS SAFE FOR CHILDREN UNDER 18 TO RETURN TO SCHOOL IN SEPTEMBER?
Regardless of whether they have children or not, we asked Canadians whether they feel it is safe for certain groups of students under 18 to return to school (in person) in September 2020.
- 43% think it is safe for preschool students
- 48% think it is safe for elementary school students
- 49% think it is safe for junior high/high school students
- 50% think it is safe for cegep*/college/university students
DO THE RISKS OF ALLOWING CHILDREN TO RETURN TO SCHOOL OUTWEIGH THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS?
There is a broad range of opinions among Canadians in terms of whether keeping children home from school due to the pandemic is doing more harm than good, or vice-versa.
When it comes to whether the risks of allowing children under 18 to return to school in person in September 2020 outweigh the benefits, opinions are quite divided. 32% disagree that the risks outweigh the potential benefits, 25% neither agree nor disagree, 36% agree, and 7% are unsure.
In terms of the potential impacts of allowing children under 18 to return to school in September:
- 64% of Canadians agree that not allowing children to return to school in person will cause financial strain for families
- 62% of Canadians agree that not allowing children to return to school in person will negatively impact their mental health
- 52% of Canadians agree that allowing children to return to school in person will cause a spike in COVID-19 cases
As with the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic in general, back to school plans will vary from province to province and family to family. Furthermore, between now and September, the situation may evolve and change. We hope that you and your family stay safe and healthy throughout the back to school season!
This web survey was conducted from July 17 to July 19, 2020, with 1,524 Canadians 18 years of age or older, randomly recruited from LEO’s online panel. Using data from the 2016 Census, the results were weighted by gender, age, mother tongue, region, education level and presence of children in the household in order to ensure a representative sample of the population.
The numbers presented have been rounded to the nearest whole number, however, raw values were used to calculate the sums presented and therefore, the sums may not correspond to the manual addition of the raw numbers.
*Note: Cegep was only included in the questionnaire for Quebec residents
DO YOU FEEL THAT THE RISKS OF CHILDREN GOING BACK TO SCHOOL OUTWEIGH THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OR THE OPPOSITE?
TELL US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
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