(NBC News) – Parents aren’t just anxious about sending their children back to school as the delta variant rages.
They’re so worried about their kids’ health and the safety of their communities that many parents — especially Black and Hispanic parents — now say they’d rather keep them home learning remotely, at least part time, new research finds.
“It’s not just that parents aren’t OK,” said Adam Burns, a partner at Edge Research, who led the nationwide parent survey released Wednesday from the National Parent Teacher Association.
“They’ve been not-OK for about 18 months.”
Many parents believed in the spring that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic was behind them, hoping that widely available vaccines would mean no longer having to contend with the technical glitches, academic struggles and emotional challenges of online instruction.
Then, on July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its health guidance in response to the more contagious delta variant, urging vaccinated people to resume precautions such as wearing masks.
For parents, the news about the delta variant was “another hit to the gut,” Burns said.
The survey, which was funded by the CDC through the Atlanta-based nonprofit CDC Foundation and polled a sample of 1,448 public school parents and guardians from July 23 to Aug. 8, captured the spike in their concerns after the CDC updated its guidance.
Before July 27, 58 percent of those surveyed said they wanted their children in a classroom full time this year.
Afterward, that figure dropped to 43 percent.