Here’s how Wake County parents feel about a return to the classroom

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As state leaders push for students to return to the classroom, many parents in North Carolina’s largest school district are also supporting a return to that mode of learning.

The more than 33,000 responses collected by the Wake County Public School System in the survey were graded on a scale of “very comfortable”, “somewhat comfortable” and “not at all comfortable”.

In the survey, 46.8 percent of the parents surveyed are “very comfortable” with returning all students to the building every day as soon as possible, even if recommended social distancing cannot be guaranteed”. In contrast, only 29.7 percent of those parents gave a grade of “not at all comfortable” to that question.

A larger amount (65.7 percent) of surveyed parents are “very comfortable” with “returning students to the building in rotations as soon as possible with recommended social distancing”. Majority of the parents surveyed are “not at all comfortable” with “remaining in remote learning until the county’s COVID numbers come down” (58 percent), or “remaining in remote learning until vaccines are more widely available” (63.4 percent).

During Gov. Roy Cooper’s press conference on Tuesday, he continued to speak for a return to the classroom for students.

“School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Teachers play an important role in keeping students safe by identifying cases of abuse, hunger, homelessness and other challenges,” he said.

Cooper said research shows in-person learning can be done safely.

“It’s time to get our children back into the classroom,” Cooper said.

But it is important for schools to follow the safety protocols laid out by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, he said.

NCDHHS updated its “StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit” on Tuesday with new guidance for schools to safely reopen.

The governor said getting students back into school has been a No. 1 priority.

“Students who are ready to get back to the classroom should get that chance,” he said.

Nearly 10,000 school-based staff were also surveyed by the district. About 60 percent of the responses came from teachers.

Compared to spring 2020, teachers were said to be more positive about student access to internet, students lacking meal access and challenges that come with contacting families, among other aspects of COVID-19-related school circumstances.

According to the data, many staff members are concerned that staff (59 percent of them) and students (81 percent) may not follow safety protocols upon return to the classroom.

However, staff who were in the building during the fall semester reported that 97 percent of staff and 81 percent of students followed NCDHHS’ “3Ws” in some way. About 88 percent of staff surveyed were concerned about not having enough healthy colleagues.

Staff members voiced other concerns such as students not returning due to possible negative academic or socio-emotional effects.

About 68 percent of staff surveyed said they want the vaccine compared to 19 percent who remain unsure about receiving it.

Check out the county’s entire findings which include attendance data and other factors.

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