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What Kids Care About: Education and The Coronavirus

The debate over schools reopening during the pandemic has included a great deal of feedback from educators and parents. But what about the students themselves: How are they feeling? Are they worried about catching the virus—and what do they think about safety measures and about remote learning or coming back to the classroom?

To find answers, the EdChoice Public Opinion Tracker and Morning Consult asked teens about their schooling, the pandemic and other hot topics. 

What Students Want

Spoiler alert: Young people are just as uncertain as grownups. When asked for three words that describe going back to school, “nervous,” “excited” and “confused” were the most common responses.

In all 76 percent of the students—and older and minority teens in particular—are concerned about the pandemic. 

The top two things students are worried about are infecting a family member (81 percent) or getting the virus (70 percent) but they’re also worried about not being able to see their friends, missing classes and taking classes online. A significant number of teens—25 percent—say they’re worried about not having access to the food they normally get at school. Nearly 70 percent think other students would take wearing masks seriously, but less than half believe their peers will socially distance and refrain from sharing objects with each other.

As for returning to school, 64 percent said they’d prefer online only or with a mix of online and in-person learning. Just over three-quarters reported having Internet access at home to do their online class work.

What Students Think

The two most important issues on teens’ minds are the coronavirus outbreak (61 percent) and Black Lives Matter movement (60 percent). LGBTQ rights, police/criminal justice reform, climate change and this year’s presidential election werent nearly as important to the students. Falling to between 26 percent and 27 percent.

Teens reported being most comfortable discussing current events and social issues with their friends (84 percent), and parents or guardians (78 percent). They were less comfortable with teachers (56 prcent) and least comfortable with their friends’ parents or guardians (39 percent).

As schools have reopened in varying degrees, it will be interesting to find out how American teens’ opinions and behaviors change throughout the remainder of this year and into the future. —- NAPSI

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