Data: Back-to-School National Educator Survey / Teachers Pay Teachers. Chart: Axios Visuals

Back-to-school plans have teachers and parents on edge — but for different reasons, according to two surveys out this morning.

Why it matters: Parents and teachers have proven to be powerful forces in influencing local back-to-school plans, but many feel conflicted about their local districts' fall plans and others feel unprepared to tackle all-virtual or hybrid learning.

Parents' top concern is their child getting COVID-19 (66%), followed by their child being a carrier of the virus and spreading it to someone else (51%), and children not social distancing (49%), according to a survey of 2,019 parents.

  • 74% of parents say they're not satisfied by or don't know what their local government's back-to-school plan is.
  • Only 17% of parents feel prepared for virtual learning or homeschooling.
  • 65% of parents expect to need more childcare than they currently have in the fall.

Meanwhile: When asked what would make them most comfortable, top responses were to continue virtual or homeschooling until a vaccine is available (21%) or until there are significantly fewer cases in their state (20%), and a staggered virtual and in-person school schedule (20%).

A majority of teachers (52%) are worried about implementing the instructional models they've been directed to prepare for the fall, whether it be in-person classes, remote instruction or hybrid models, according to a survey of 1,101 PreK-12 teachers by Teachers Pay Teachers.

  • 93% of educators are worried about providing equitable instruction to all students.
  • 82% predict a lack of internet access for students will be at least somewhat of a barrier, while 79% say the inability to communicate with students and families will be a barrier.
  • 71% are taking courses to learn more about remote instruction or are brushing up on tech tools for the fall.

Between the lines: In the Washington, D.C. area, local school district surveys have shown diverging preferences between parents and teachers — with more parents hoping children will physically go back to school due to child care and academic concerns, and more teachers preferring virtual classes to prevent the virus' spread.

  • These surveys indicate more overlap in their worries: Parents are also acutely worried about children's health risk and teachers are highly concerned about being able to deliver a quality educational experience virtually.

Separately, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of available data showed that while COVID-19 illness is significantly less severe in children, some do get very sick in rare instances.

  • And while children do transmit the virus to others, more evidence is needed to determine the frequency and extent of the transmission, per the brief.

Go deeper: Reopening schools is a lose-lose dilemma for many families of color

Go deeper

Jul 29, 2020 - Health

Reopening schools is a lose-lose dilemma for many families of color

Reproduced from KFF Health Tracking Poll; Note: Share includes responses for "very/somewhat worried", income is household income; Chart: Axios Visuals

Children of color have the most to lose if schools remain physically closed in the fall. Their families also have the most to lose if schools reopen.

Why it matters: The child care crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic is horrible for parents regardless of their race or income, but Black and Latino communities are bearing the heaviest burden.

Jul 23, 2020 - Health

America faces a racial divide over school reopening

Reproduced from KFF Health Tracking Poll; Note: ±3% margin of error, "Parents of a child" have a child between 5-17 who normally attends school; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are divided by race and party on the question of whether schools should open sooner or later, according to new polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Why it matters: Although reopening schools may exacerbate community spread of the coronavirus, keeping kids at home often causes learning loss and makes life much harder for working parents.

The pandemic is making schools even more unequal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

No matter what's going on at home, schools have always been something of an equalizer — with all the neighborhood kids, richer and poorer, sitting behind the same desks in the same classrooms. Pandemic-induced remote learning is doing away with that.

The big picture: When you don't have kids from different backgrounds learning together, all of their differences become magnified — particularly when they can see into each other's homes, and especially when online learning shortchanges some students more than others.