A new poll shows 59 per cent of respondents with children said they would send their kids to school if there is some type of classroom instruction at least a few days a week, in a July 27, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Parents divided over sending kids back to school: Poll

23 per cent say they don’t know what they’ll do

OTTAWA — As the clock ticks down to September, a new poll suggests many Canadian parents are on the fence about whether to send their kids to school if and when classrooms are reopened.

The poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies comes as provincial governments are working on how to get students back into classrooms, most of which have been shuttered since mid-March due to COVID-19.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents with children said they would send their kids to school if there is some type of classroom instruction at least a few days a week. But 18 per cent said they would keep children at home while the remaining 23 per cent said they didn’t know.

The Leger online poll of 1,517 Canadians over age 18 — of which 391 were parents with children in their households — took place July 24 to 26. The poll cannot be given a margin of error because it is not a random sample.

“We’re five weeks away from what’s a normal back-to-school time and still a quarter of parents don’t know what they’ll do,” Leger vice-president Christian Bourque said, adding: “A lot of it is still up in the air because provinces have really not made all their decisions.”

Many provinces have yet to decide whether to reopen schools and, if so, whether to do so full-time or with some type of hybrid model involving some in-class instruction possibly bolstered by online courses.

Parents in Quebec were most likely to say they planned to send their children back to school. The province reopened schools outside Montreal in the spring, with voluntary attendance. Parents in Alberta were most likely to keep their kids home while those in B.C. were most likely to be undecided.

Parents were more united on implementing safeguards to prevent students and teachers from contracting COVID-19, including mandatory temperature checks for children (82 per cent support), protective masks for school staff (81 per cent) and screening questionnaires (77 per cent).

Two-thirds were also supportive of students having to wear masks. Support for the measure was strongest in Ontario, which has seen a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the past week, and weakest in Atlantic Canada, which has seen far fewer cases.

“All of this in terms of trying to protect staff and children seems to be making sense to parents,” Bourque said. ”People still feel the importance of safety first, protection first, over the fun of being in school.”

Respondents were also asked how they would respond to a student or teacher in their child’s class testing positive for COVID-19. Forty-five per cent said they would respond by following the school’s advice, while half said they would keep them home for at least two weeks (30 per cent) or indefinitely (20 per cent).

And while many parents had plans for juggling some type of school schedule or model that will see students stay at home at least part of the time, 13 per cent said they did not know what they would do and 16 per cent said they would alternate going into work with a spouse.

“This will require a lot of flexibility from employers in the fall because most people expect that we will be confronted with some type of hybrid model of how our children go back to school,” Bourque said.

Forty-one per cent of all respondents said they would be more worried about personally contracting COVID-19 if schools reopen while 48 per cent said it did not change their fears either way. Bourque suggested that was a reflection of already-high concerns about the illness.

Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said they were somewhat or very afraid of getting COVID-19 versus 41 per cent who were not.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2020.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Water quality advisory issued for Buffalo Lake at Rochon Sands

Elevated levels of fecal bacteria were detected via testing of Buffalo Lake water, at this beach location

Stettler area to welcome new MDF production plant

Great Plains MDF Production Inc building a $750 million straw fibre MDF board plant

Country star Drew Gregory perfoms at Entertainment in the Park Aug. 5th

‘Gregory the singer is also Gregory the farmer – two sides of the same engaging, unpretentious and ‘amiable coin’

Economy grew 4.5% in May, Statistics Canada says

The retail trade registered a 16.4 per cent bump

QUIZ: A summer’s day on the water

How much do you know about boats and other watercraft?

A weakened Tropical Storm Isaias lashes virus-hit Florida

‘Don’t be fooled by the downgrade’

Wilford Brimley, ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Natural’ actor, dies at 85

He was on dialysis and had several medical ailments

Flames ground Jets 4-1 to take series lead, Winnipeg’s Scheifele injured

Playoff animosity didn’t take long to brew in Calgary’s 4-1 win over the Jets

N.L. Liberals to announce next leader, 14th premier during atypical convention Monday

Only 50 people will be allowed inside the event to welcome the next leader

Despite ‘perfect storm’ of U.S. discord, America’s truths trump foreign fictions

“On masking, it is extremely silly, it’s extremely dangerous”

NHL returns to action 142 after COVID-19 forced suspension of season

It became clear pretty quickly Saturday hockey hadn’t missed a beat

How one Montreal long-term care home managed to keep COVID-19 away

Montreal is the Canadian hotspot for COVID-19

Most Read