Survey finds parents support return to school

Posted On Wednesday July 15, 2020

A majority of 43,000 respondents to a survey of Thames Valley families indicated they support their children returning to the classroom in September. 

The voluntary survey found about two-thirds of families would be willing to send their children back to school full-time with enhanced health protocols. An even larger number support returning to school with smaller class sizes and alternate days or weeks. About a third of parents said they did not support or were not sure about sending their children back to school. 

The Ministry of Education has said that returning to school will not be mandatory if parents have concerns for their children and that schools boards are required to continue to provide online learning at home. 

“We understand families have difficult decisions to make – there’s no perfect scenario as long as COVID-19 is a factor,” said Director of Education Mark Fisher. “Nothing replaces the value of face-to-face learning in the classroom, but we understand some parents will continue to have concerns.”

More than half of elementary parents said childcare would be an issue if students were learning online all or some of the time. 

School boards have been asked by the Ministry to plan for three models – full return to school, a blended model of in-school and online, and full online learning at home – and be prepared to move between each model depending on local COVID-19 infection rates.

In preparation for providing an enhanced online learning experience, Thames Valley will launch a survey of parents and students in the coming days to learn more about their online experience during school closures and how the experience can be improved.