9 safety actions to strengthen parents’ trust in schools
Doubts about school safety among Black and brown communities hardest hit by COVID can be overcome with prevention strategies, testing and vaccinations, new polling shows.
Also, a large majority of parents—though more white parents—support sending their students back to in-person instruction in the fall, according to the survey, conducted by the American Federation of Teachers, the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens and several other advocacy groups.
“Public schools are a primary engine of social and economic mobility, educating and supporting the development of our children,” said Caroline Sanchez Crozier, chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens’ education committee.
“That’s why we must seize this moment to recommit to, and highlight the value of, our public schools and the teachers, counselors, staff and leaders who attend to the intellectual and emotional growth of our young people,” Crozier said.
The survey found that 73% of parents—but only 59% of Black parents—feel comfortable sending students back to classrooms in the fall.
But with safety precautions in place, parents’ comfort surges to 94%, including 87% of Black parents.
Parents’ trust in schools to keep students safe is higher than it was last year: 90% of parents feel very or fairly confident that their school district will take necessary COVID precautions, which is up from 73%.
Also, 85% expressed satisfaction with how schools have handled the pandemic, a 9-point increase from last summer, according to the survey.
However, less than one-fourth of parents said remote learning had worked as well as in-person instruction, and many remain concerned about learning loss.
Parens want safety precautions
More than three-quarters of the 1,100 parents survey said schools should require that students and teachers to wear face masks at all times while indoors.
Here are the other top safety precautions parents feel are essential for in-person instruction:
- Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly to filter air and increase circulation of outdoor air.
- Make full-time remote learning available to students in high-risk medical categories.
- Provide personal protective equipment and training for staff and students.
- Allow teachers and other staff in high-risk medical categories to stay at home.
- Provide training for staff and students in physical distancing and use of protective equipment.
- Require staff and students to maintain physical distancing to the maximum degree feasible in classrooms, hallways, buses, cafeterias, and other common areas.
- Make voluntary vaccines available at school buildings for students and their families.
- Reopen schools only in communities with low infection rates and adequate levels of COVID-19 testing.
“The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools is laser-focused on ensuring that Black and brown parents, students and families have their voices heard and their demands met in the fight forward for a great public education,” said Keron Blair, national director of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, one of the organizations involved in the survey. “The data gleaned from this poll gives clear and reliable insight on how we should equitably and fairly reopen our neighborhood public schools.”
the NAACP, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium,