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Survey finds most parents find in-person learning best, but many still prefer remote learning as option

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High school seniors attend class at P.S. #192 Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts in October of 2019.

While a wide majority of parents believe in-person instruction is the best option for their kids, more of those answering a newly-released survey also suggest with COVID vaccination rates as they currently are, they’d still prefer remote learning as an option at this time.

The Education Trust-New York announced Tuesday the findings of its sixth survey conducted since the start of the COVID pandemic.

Most parents, 80 percent, say their children are back in class full time, with only six percent reporting their kids are receiving full-time remote instruction. Ninety percent of those responding agree that in-person learning is the best way for their kids to learn. However, 60 percent of those parents also revealed they’d prefer having remote learning as an available option, full or part time.

“Many parents simply aren't ready to send their kids back to school right now,” said Maura Farrell, senior director of research for Global Strategy Group, which was commissioned to conduct the survey. “In schools that don't have remote options, more than a third disagree with this decision. And that number is much higher in Black and low-income communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Farrell says current COVID vaccination rates are influencing the attitudes among the respondents. Vaccines are currently not available to children under the age of 12, but earlier this week, Pfizer deemed its vaccine safe for children as young as 5, and are seeking approval for emergency distribution.

Another point of concern raised by more parents is the academic and emotional readiness of their children to transition back into in-class instruction. Farrell reported that seven in 10 parents answered their child will need academic support and more than six in 10 believe that their child will need social, social emotional support.

“This begs the question of whether schools are actually equipped to address these challenges right now,” she said. “Currently, only around a third of parents say they're able to regularly access a school counselor. So this is an area that clearly needs to be addressed as schools navigate this new reality.”

(Click here for the full report.)