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Poll: Washington parents grapple with sending kids back to school this fall

A school janitor opens the door to a staff room inside Bothell High School, which was closed to be cleaned and disinfected. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A new poll from KING 5/SurveyUSA indicates that many residents in Washington remain anxious over the possibility of school resuming in person this fall.

Inslee recommends most Washington schools use distance learning in fall

Of 675 adults surveyed in the poll, just 10% said they would support fully in-person learning this fall. Another 29% said they’d prefer a hybrid model, while 35% support fully remote learning. Eighteen percent said they weren’t comfortable with schools reopening in any form.

The poll also spoke to 191 parents, 41% of whom said they would be “very likely” to allow their children inside of school buildings whenever they’re required to be there. Another 27% said they would be “somewhat likely,” 16% said they were “not very likely,” and 15% said they were “not at all likely.”

Despite President Trump’s demands for a return to in-person learning for school aged Americans, many local districts in Washington are moving forward with plans for remote learning this fall.

Seattle Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, just announced Wednesday that they’re going to go ahead with remote learning and potentially outdoor learning. All districts must submit their plans to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction two weeks before opening.

Students and parents should know soon, if they don’t know already, what their district has decided.

Plans for reopening schools have to be ‘balanced with the risks’

That being so, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal also noted that the state is better prepared for remote learning this fall than it was in the spring at the start of the pandemic.

“We’ve had to turn on a dime,” he told Seattle’s Morning News. “And in public education, it doesn’t always do that. But, boy, the experience this fall will be dramatically better than this spring, but still no substitute for high quality, in-person learning.”

Respondents in KING 5’s poll were also asked several other questions related to Washington’s reopening process. Forty-two percent said they felt as though the state was reopening too quickly, 32% said the state is opening “at the appropriate speed,” and 21% said it’s opening too slowly.

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