Canadian parents want kids to go back to school but are worried about them getting COVID-19: poll
(The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)
Published Wednesday, July 22, 2020 3:55PM EDT
The majority of parents and Canadians overall appear to want children to go back to class in the fall but are worried there are not enough health and safety measures in place to ensure students do not get infected with COVID-19, according to a new poll.
The national survey, by Maru/Blue Public Opinion, was released Wednesday as part of a Newstalk 1010 exclusive, and surveyed 1,519 Canadian adults from July 17-20.
It said 64 per cent of the Canadian public have a desire for kids to go back into the classroom. That number was slightly higher (68 per cent) among respondents with kids under 18.
The majority of overall Canadians and those who are parents (60 and 62 per cent, respectively) also believed their schools have adequate on-site measures to ensure a safe environment for kids.
And 58 per cent of respondents – both with and without kids – said schools need to open in September to make sure people can return to out-of-home work or get a break from their children.
However, despite the desire for kids to go back to class, the Newstalk 1010 poll said 52 per cent of respondents said children should not return to school because of the potential of contracting the virus.
Last month, the Ontario government announced a three-scenario plan for the return of students in the fall, including full-time school, online-only learning or a combination of the two options.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said school boards are in charge of creating the detailed plans and will be able to decide on an option in September.
But in a press conference Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford said he is aware that many parents want their kids to go back to school full-time.
“The reason we have three other areas [is] god-forbid we go the other way and we get a second wave of this or a flu season or something goes off the tracks, you have to have a backup plan,” Ford said. “But our goal as a government is to get the kids back safely in the classroom five days a week.”
The survey also found that 74 per cent of all Canadians want their provincial governments to put more money into the school system to make accommodations in response to the pandemic.
The same sentiment is shared by a group of Ontario parents, educators and community members who rallied at Queen’s Park today demanding more action from the government for a safe reopening of full-time school.
The Open Schools Full Time Safely Fall 2020 group rejects the government’s hybrid model, saying it will force many working parents to choose between their children’s education and their own livelihoods.
The group is calling on the government to provide a consistent set of safety indicators and protocols school boards can use in case of a COVID-19 outbreak. It is also asking for the government to provide the money needed to meet these goals and to fund the purchase of personal protective gear.
“I would like to have medical professionals, teachers, parents and the boards and everyone involved in making these decisions,” Open Schools Full Time Safely Fall 2020 founder Bronwen Alsop told CP24. “The lack of collaboration in this broken system that I keep seeing from the Ford government is unacceptable.”
The Ontario government is expected to announce more details for its plan to reopen schools next month.
The Maru/BLUE poll randomly selected Canadian adults and was conducted in both English and French. It is considered nationally accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.