PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A majority of Palm Beach County parents and school district staff members want to delay the "physical" start of the upcoming school year, according to the results of a widespread new survey.
The School District of Palm Beach County said it received survey responses from 66,348 parents and guardians and 16,434 staff members about how they would like to see schools reopen for the 2020-21 school year.
According to the survey results, 45.8% of parents support delaying the start of the school year beyond the current start date of Monday, Aug. 10.
33.6% of parents do not support delaying the school year, and 20.6% are unsure.
Meanwhile, 59% of staff members support delaying the "physical return" to work until after Aug. 10.
READ SURVEY RESULTS:
In addition, the poll asked parents and staff members about three different educational models: full-time classroom instruction, full-time distance learning at home, or a blended model of both.
When asked about full-time classroom instruction, 54% of parents said they support that model.
When asked about full-time distance learning at home, 53.7% of parents were in favor of that model.
When asked about a blended model, 50.8% of parents preferred that.
Based on those results, the school district said many parents indicated "they could support two or more of the models," and therefore "more than one option for reopening schools will likely be needed."
In the survey, parents expressed several concerns for the upcoming school year including supervising their children while they're learning at home, the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as adequate safety measures at school.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
When asked about the three educational models, a majority of staff members said they prefer full-time distance learning at home, as one of their main concerns is students coming to school sick.
School district officials said they will make a final decision about the format of the 2020-21 school year on July 15.