Survey: Majority Comfortable Sending Kids Back to School This Fall
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the results of an informal survey on whether families would feel comfortable sending their kids back to school this fall. A majority of the respondents, 64%, say they would feel comfortable having their children return to in-person classes.
The survey also asked families about their distance learning experiences. It was conducted over the past several weeks. MDE collected more than 130,000 responses. The survey was offered in several languages besides English, including Hmong, Spanish and Somali.
Of the 64% who said they’d be comfortable sending their kids back to school this fall, 94% of the respondents said they would send their children back to school full time. Less than 12% of respondents said they would not feel comfortable sending their kids back to school. Of those who felt uncomfortable, more than 83% percent cited public health as the major reason.
“We deeply appreciate and value the overwhelming response we received from our families,” said MDE Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “Our educators worked tirelessly this spring to create distance learning plans in just eight days, rethinking the way they educate and connect with our students in order to keep them healthy and safe. As we plan for the upcoming school year, we will listen to the experiences of our families, teachers, and students and the advice of public health experts to determine a safe path forward.”
MDE has previously stated it will make an announcement for the 2020-21 school year no later than the week of July 27, 2020. Education and state health officials are considering three scenarios for the coming school year: 1) in-person learning, 2) a hybrid model or 3) distance learning only.
Response on Distance Learning
The MDE survey also asked about distance learning, trying to better gauge on what families felt went right and what was challenging. As for what went well, the most common selections were:
- ‘Access to internet’
- ‘Access to technology’
- ‘Good communication from teacher(s)’
As for most challenging, the most common selections were:
- ‘Student(s) didn’t feel empowered to work on their own,’
- ‘Student(s) experiencing new mental health challenges due to COVID-pandemic,’
- ‘Hard to understand lessons.’
Osseo Area Schools is also conducting a back-to-school survey. You can find the District 279 survey here.
The results of MDE’s Fall Planning Survey for Families is available on MDE’s webpage. The survey results are also broken down by race and ethnicity.