Poll Shows Parents, Voters Remain Concerned about Safety as In-Person Learning Resumes During COVID-19 Pandemic

Parents of Color Especially Cautious

SACRAMENTO — A recent poll commissioned by the California Teachers Association shows that as in-person classroom instruction resumes across the state in the midst of the pandemic, parents are more confident about sending their kids back to school, but remain concerned about safety. And they say that safety – rather than speed – should be guiding the reopening of classrooms. The findings were particularly pronounced among parents of color.

The poll of 1,839 registered voters, conducted earlier this month by Hart Research Associates, shows that although there has been an increase in confidence since last fall that schools are safe for in-person instruction, by large margins, parents (75%) and voters (72%) believe that the more important consideration in reopening schools should be keeping students, staff and families as safe as possible, as opposed to getting students back into classrooms as soon as possible.

“As more and more students, educators and staff return to classrooms for in-person instruction, parents and voters are paying close attention to safety which includes the multilayered safety measures, and also to vaccines for teachers and school staff. The virus continues to be seen differently in communities across the state and we have to be mindful of that. COVID disproportionally impacted our communities of color and they are especially cautious about the pace of reopening classrooms. Working together we will ensure that we get back into our classrooms safely.”
– CTA President E. Toby Boyd

Parents agree.“Getting back into the classroom is important, but not if it means risking anyone getting sick,” said Sasha Shane, a parent advocate and representative from Oakland, California. “We don’t want our kids to get sick and we also don’t want them to bring COVID home and infect other family members.”

The poll also found:

  • Parents of color are especially cautious about the pace of reopening classrooms. While many parents of color say schools are reopening at about the right pace, 40% think schools are reopening too quickly, while only 17% say schools are opening too slowly. While a majority of white parents say they are comfortable sending their child to school for instruction right now, fewer than of half of parents of color feel that way.
  • Most parents approve of the decisions their school districts have made about reopening and the education their children have received during the pandemic. Majorities of parents (70%) and voters (62%) approve of the decisions their school district has made about whether, when, and how schools should reopen for in-person instruction, and 65% of parents are satisfied with their child’s education in the current school year.
  • Fewer than one in four parents or voters want schools to reopen fully, and most favor a hybrid learning model. Pluralities want to see hybrid learning, and the remaining one-third would prefer to see remote learning only.
  • They support schools making safety modifications before reopening and teachers getting vaccinated. A large majority of parents and voters think that schools need to make major modifications to reopen and a large majority of voters and parents say schools should reopen only after teachers have been vaccinated.


The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.