Last week, Stand fielded a poll of 660 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) parents to better understand how parents are feeling during the pandemic about school reopening and to give guidance to decision makers about those feelings.
While you’ve probably experienced this yourself, Stand now has the numbers to back it up: CPS parents are torn between whether schools in the fall should be a mix of online and in-person learning or a completely online experience for their children.
Some 35% of parents support a hybrid model with schools partially reopening and continued learning from home, while 40% of parents believe that schools should remain closed with only remote learning. Just 19% of parents said they supported a full-time return to school when the new academic year begins.
As our city and country continue the fight against COVID-19, Chicago parents want to ensure schools are taking the safety of their children seriously when it comes to schools reopening. They also prefer alternating days per week, if a hybrid model is used.
The findings of this survey, especially when it comes to concerns parents have and their thoughts on issues like their children’s academic progress, safety, cleaning, and frequency of in-person classes, align largely with the recent CPS draft plan for reopening schools.
With the CPS Preliminary Framework now out, it’s time for all of us to do our part by participating in the public conversation. Complete the preliminary framework survey and participate in one of the listening sessions scheduled throughout next week.
CPS parents have numerous concerns about the pandemic and its impact on their children’s education and daily lives. Chief among them is keeping their child’s education on track, outranking even “getting sick, or close friends or family members getting sick.”
Parents put a premium on the safety of their children and schools in order to feel comfortable with a return to schools. CPS parents rated “an increase in schoolwide cleaning and disinfection” as the most important guideline for schools to follow, trailed by a requirement that “schools conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require that individuals self-certify that they are free of symptoms before entering school buildings,” and a requirement to use “appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings.”
CPS parents have faced several challenges during the pandemic. If CPS continued remote learning in the new school year, missing out on extracurricular activities outside of school and social interaction with other students rank as the most pressing. The next biggest challenges were ensuring students get enough exercise or physical activity and ensuring students can keep up with school and complete their assignments.
Many difficult decisions lie ahead for parents, teachers, and the administration. Let’s listen to parents and take into account the needs and feelings of Chicago families. Let’s stand together, guided by science and research in constructive public dialogue, to do the very best by our children.