The Minnesota Department of Education released the results of a survey of more than 134,000 respondents (parents of students) dealing with questions about whether or not to re-open schools in the fall and the results were significant in the feelings of parents toward distance learning.
To the question of whether they would feel comfortable sending their students back to the classroom in September, 64.3 percent responded “yes,” only 11.4 percent said “no” and 24.3 percent were unsure. For those who responded “yes,” 94.4 percent of them chose the option of a full-time return to the classroom as opposed to part-time. For those who answered “no” to being comfortable with sending their children back to school, the top factors listed were concerns over public health (83.5 percent), their students or family are medically fragile (42.8 percent) and distance learning went well for their children (38.3 percent).
More than half of those parents who responded stated their distance learning experience with their children was either bad (42.3 percent) or very bad (10.3 percent). When asked what the biggest challenges were during the spring when schools had their doors closed, the top answers listed were students didn’t feel empowered (47.4 percent), mental health challenges due to COVID (40.1 percent), hard to understand lessons (37.8 percent), too much school work (29 percent) and not enough communication from teachers (28.1 percent).
Governor Tim Walz is expected to make a decision on whether schools remain closed, phase in a reopening or fully reopen on or before July 27.