With school just around the corner, Canadian parents seem divided on their children heading back to school in the fall, if classrooms reopen.
According to the latest survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, 59% of Canadians state that they will send their children back to the classroom if school resumes and there is some form of in-person instruction.
The web survey, conducted from July 24 to July 26, included 1,517 Canadian participants who were 18 years of age or older.
In Ontario, 54% of participants said that they will send their children back to school, almost dividing the province’s opinion on the matter in half. Quebec was not as divided with 77% of participants saying that they will send their children to school.
In Canada, 23% of participants said they don’t know if they would send their kids back at this time.
If a student or teacher tested positive for the virus, 45% of Canadians would follow the school’s advice in terms of next steps. Other participants (40%) said that they would keep their child home for at least 14 days. Some participants (20%) even said that they would keep their child home indefinitely.
When it comes to measures being put into place at schools, 82% of Canadians said that children’s temperatures should be taken. A screening questionnaire was also favoured by 77%.
Numbers were different when it came to protective mask wearing for teachers and staff versus students. More participants (85%) said that teachers and staff should wear masks, while less (65%) said that students should also wear one.
Schools were closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Government systems have had different approaches for reopening.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce want students to return to school full-time in September.
“I want to see every child back to school full-time this September, this is what we’re working towards with the Medical Officer of Health and local schools boards and I am confident we’ll get there,” Ford recently said.
“But I will not take unnecessary risk when it comes to our children and that’s why we must plan for every possible scenario.”
The Government of Ontario is working through different scenarios for back to school delivery including a hybrid plan that consists of alternate daily or weekly attendance.
As governments are talking about having a hybrid school week, this would involve a few days of in-class studies but also days of at-home remote teaching. This may pose an issue for parents that are planning to go back to their place of work in the fall.
For 23% of survey respondents, their children are old enough to be home for a few days a week. Another portion of respondents (18%) said that they work from home now and have no plans of returning to the workplace. But, for 13% of respondents they do not know how they would manage a hybrid schooling situation, in terms of their work requirements.
As elementary and high schools are looking into reopening plans around the country, 41% of participants are more worried about personally contracting COVID-19.
When a vaccine becomes available to the population, 57% also believe that it should be mandatory for all, with 70% intending to receive the vaccination.