COVID-19 Education Policy

60% of K–8 Parents Now 'Hesitant' to Send Kids Back to School in the Fall

Amid new fears arising over the Delta variant and wildly contradictory messaging on COVID-19 policy at all levels of government, parents appear to be growing increasingly concerned about sending their kids back to school in the fall.

These and other factors have left parents facing difficult decisions about in-person instruction in the fall.

In a new survey of parents of K–8 students from Stride Inc., when asked if schools should offer an online option for school at all times, regardless of the pandemic, only 31.7% said no. The plurality (47.3%) responded yes, and 21% were unsure.

A majority, 60.4%, said they were concerned about sending their kids back to in-person instruction in the fall, and 59.6% said they were somewhat concerned or very concerned about exposure to unvaccinated adults in school. Nearly a third were unconcerned about their children contracting COVID or spreading it to family members, but more than two-thirds were concerned about those possibilities:

  • 26% were concerned about their kids contracting COVID-19;

  • 7.9% were more concerned about their kids spreading COVID-19 to family members; and

  • 33.5% were concerned about both possibilities.

Regardless, at the time of the survey, nearly 70% of parents planned to send their kids to school in-person. About 26% plan on a mix of environments for their kids. And only about 4% planned for their kids to be online-only.

When asked about their feelings regarding back-to-school, the biggest response (26.6%) was "hopeful." The second-largest (20%) was "anxious." These were followed by "excited" (12.4%), "indifferent" (12.3%), "happy" (8.4%) and "afraid" (7.8%).

In guidance updated today, the CDC recommended that all students, staff and teachers wear masks in K–12 schools, regardless of vaccination status, reversing its stance on masks for the second time since the pandemic started and sending mixed signals about the efficacy of the vaccine two days after the United States hit it 70% vaccination target for adults.

The complete survey, including raw data, is available at

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .