Virginia Parents Fear COVID in Schools, Also Worry Children Are Falling Behind

Credit: Don Harder on Flickr

by James A. Bacon

If today’s Wason Center poll results are any indication, more than half of Virginia parents have children in school systems delivering instruction online, about one fourth have children in hybrid online/in-person schools, and only one in eight have children receiving in-person education.

The Northam administration has released no estimates of its own, an exercise that would entail tabulating figures from the state’s 134 school system. The Wason Center, affiliated with Christopher Newport University, conducted 906 interviews in mid November. Thirty-four percent had children in schools. Of those:

12% had children receiving in-person instruction only
56% had children receiving online instruction only
27% had children receiving a mix of online and in-person
3% were home schooling their children

With an effective sample of only 300 or so parents, there’s probably a fairly wide margin of error, but that’s the only statewide estimate I’ve seen so far.

Most Virginians (64%) said they were somewhat or very satisfied with how school officials have handled instruction this fall. Only 22% were dissatisfied.

At the same time, an even larger majority is worried that their children will fall behind:

53% very concerned
22% somewhat concerned
8% not too concerned
16% not at all concerned

In interpreting these results, it appears that most Virginia parents are ambivalent about how schools should respond to the COVID-19 epidemic. A strong majority is worried about the virus and supports keeping their children at home. (This is consistent with a survey of City of Richmond parents, which found that a large majority of respondents, who may or may not have been a representative sample, favored virtual instruction.) An even larger majority of parents worry that their children’s education is suffering, but that concern appears to be outweighed by fear of the virus.

Whether those fears are justified is an entirely different question. In the world of politics, perceptions are their own reality.

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10 responses to “Virginia Parents Fear COVID in Schools, Also Worry Children Are Falling Behind”

  1. Unfortunately, our problems don’t end there. Many of those most likely to suffer from the virus are also most fearful of taking the vaccine.

    “The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about a quarter of U.S. adults aren’t sure if they want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Roughly another quarter say they won’t.”

    “COVID-19 has killed or hospitalized Black, Hispanic and Native Americans at far higher rates than white Americans. Yet 53% of white Americans said they will get vaccinated, compared with 24% of Black Americans and 34% of Hispanics like Martinez.”

    1. I’m no fan of former President Obama, but I think this may help African Americans to get the vaccine. I believe setting an example is the right thing to do and commend all three of them. I hope it helps.

      “Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton volunteer to get coronavirus vaccine publicly to prove it’s safe”

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    CLEARLY , FAKE NEWS has made further inroads and now has polluted polling?


    1. Since the development of the vaccine was linked to the Trump administration, the news media was very reticent to report favorably about it. Now that the election is over, coverage has changed dramatically.

      So have Democratic politicians.

      “President-elect Joe Biden pledged on Tuesday to distribute 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office, in one part of a three-pronged strategy to fight the pandemic.”
      -MarketWatch December 8, 2020

      I remember Cuomo stating that New Yorkers shouldn’t take it. Now there’s talk of mandates there.

      “New York state lawmaker proposes COVID-19 vaccine mandate, based on ‘sufficient immunity’”

      “If public health officials determine that residents of the state are not developing sufficient immunity from COVID-19, the department shall mandate vaccination for all individuals or groups of individuals who, as shown by clinical data, are proven to be safe to receive such vaccine,” the legislation says.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        I think no matter who POTUS is that if people think the process is being subverted/rushed, etc, that they will lose confidence.

        People have to trust the government and it’s role in public health – and in this day and time – that’s no longer the case.

    2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Yes, it is called manufacturing ignorance, a mission today fiercely promoted and engaged in by most of America’s mainstream media in alliance with most elite colleges and universities in America, creating a growing horde of ignorant citizens led by growing numbers of college educated useful idiots.

  3. VDOTyranny Avatar

    Please rate the accuracy of this survey:
    1) Accurate
    2) Really Accurate
    3) Super Accurate

    Result: 100% of respondents say our surveys are accurate.

    I learned this survey method from American Electric Power

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead V Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I don’t buy into this poll. It is impossible in today’s world to measure the latent majority.

  5. The WTOP news said Ffx was establishing a COVID safety teams to eval the schools. Fantastic! I was thinking, since we use school space after hours. However, it turns out apparently the teams are looking for behavior, not building design/ventilation/mitigation etc.

  6. SuburbanWoman Avatar

    I notice in some areas parents seem more concerned with having children return to sports. Many traveling to other states and switching school divisions based on athletics availability. Switching school divisions in a pandemic doesn’t seem like a good decision.

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