To date in the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been reliable, nationwide data on parent experiences with their children’s schooling. Last week, however, researchers released results from a large, nationally representative parent survey, conducted from November to early December 2020. The findings offer insights about families’ varying schooling experiences during the pandemic. The survey queried a nationally representative sample of U.S. parents of school-age children (n=2,155) about how their children’s schools have adapted to COVID-19, their views about school responses, and their perceptions of their children’s learning. More information about survey methodology is available here.
Main findings include:
- The majority of students are receiving fully remote instruction, and only 28% are fully in person. Whether students receive remote, in-person, or hybrid instruction varied by type of school and by family and household characteristics. For instance, in-person instruction is most common for private schools (60% of these students are in person, compared to 24% of public school students and 18% of charter school students). Younger children, children from high-income families, children of white parents, and children from Republican households are more likely to be participating in in-person instruction.
- Among the students for whom in-person instruction is an option, the majority chose it (69%), but it varies by race and ethnicity with 56% of Black students and 67% of Hispanic students opting for in-person schooling, compared to 76% of white students.
- Students in areas where COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly are more likely to be attending school in-person. This relationship between an area’s infection rates and type of instruction (i.e., remote, hybrid, in-person) was not observed in survey data from early in the 2020–21 school year.
- Parents largely report being satisfied with their schools’ responses to COVID-19 (71% of public school parents, 73% of charter school parents, and 83% of private school parents), despite a majority of parents overall (60%) perceiving less learning for their children relative to an undisrupted school year.