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Survey: Most PBC Parents, Staff Favor Delaying Start of School

A majority of Palm Beach County parents and school district staff members say they want to delay the “physical” start of the 2020-21 school year, according to the results of a survey.

The school district received survey responses from 66,348 parents and guardians, and 16,434 staff members, regarding their ideas for reopening schools.

According to the survey results, 45.8 percent of parents support delaying the start of the school year beyond the current planned start date of Monday, Aug. 10.

Another 33.6 percent of parents do not support delaying the school year, and 20.6 percent are unsure.

Meanwhile, 59 percent of staff members also support delaying the “physical return” to work until after Aug. 10.

The poll asked parents and staff members about three different potential 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 percent of parents said they support that model.

However, 53.7 percent of parents were also in favor of full-time distance learning at home.

In addition, 50.8 percent of parents prefer a blended model comprised of classroom instruction and distance learning.

Based on the 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.”

Parents also expressed concerns for the upcoming school year, including the issue of supervising their children while they are learning at home, as well as the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, and adequate safety measures at school.

A majority of staff members responded that they prefer full-time distance learning at home, so that students do not come to school sick.

School district officials will make a final decision about the format of the school year on July 15.