Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (June 16, 2022)—National PTA today released the results of a national survey exploring parents’ current mindsets related to COVID-19, in-person learning and mental health. The survey, which included more than 2,500 parents and guardians with children in grades K-12 in public schools, was conducted in April 2022 by Edge Research. This is the third in a series of surveys commissioned by National PTA and supported by the CDC Foundation, including one reported in January 2022 and one reported in September 2021.
Key findings of the latest survey show:
- Parents and their children have adapted to living with the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite believing the country still has a long way to go, parents have also grown more comfortable with their children being in school.
- Parents of color remain more cautious about where the country stands with the pandemic, and their COVID-specific worries about their children being in school remain significantly stronger than the perspectives of White parents.
- The emotions of both children and parents are trending in a positive direction, and parents reported this year going very/pretty good for their child regarding academics, social experiences and emotional/mental health.
- Parents believe the 2022-2023 school year will be even better.
“From the first through the third survey, we have seen a positive progression in parents’ mindsets related to COVID-19, in-person learning and both their own and their children’s mental health,” said Anna King, president of National PTA. “The survey results are an encouraging sign that schools have been and will continue to be able to address needs and concerns of families as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and planning begins for the 2022-2023 school year.”
In the survey, 51% of parents reported they believe the worst part of the pandemic is over, but the country still has a long way to go. Overall, 43% of parents reported being very comfortable with in-person learning, though Black parents were less comfortable compared to White and Latino/a/x parents, and 80% of parents reported they think the 2022-2023 school year will be better. The survey showed an increase in the number of parents who reported both themselves and their child feeling happy, excited, safe and calm. The survey also showed a decrease in the number of parents who reported both themselves and their child feeling anxious, frustrated, angry, sad and confused.
“These findings are hopeful; they highlight the resilience of children and families,” said Dr. Kathleen Ethier, Division of Adolescent and School Health Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “They also provide valuable insight into areas where we can continue to partner with schools to ensure that all students feel safe, supported and connected at school. Students and their families need that support more than ever.”
Most parents surveyed (88%) indicated they are comfortable with children learning social skills like respect, cooperation, perseverance and empathy in schools. Almost as many parents (76%) support schools teaching social and emotional learning. While most parents (over 60%) say they are following debates over curriculum and what topics should be taught in schools, only one-in-four indicate they are doing so very closely.
“Understanding parents’ views about their children’s health and overall well-being is essential to protecting all of our schoolchildren all of the time, including during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “As the pandemic continues to evolve, it is vital that schools, teachers and administrators, parents and their children follow the best available guidance from our nation’s public health protection experts.”
As in-person learning remains vital to ensure the continuity of education for every child and to support children’s success socially and emotionally, National PTA will host a symposium on maximizing in-person learning on Friday, June 17, at 4:45 p.m. EDT during the National PTA 125th Anniversary Convention. The symposium will feature a two-part panel discussion on how our nation can plan a path forward from the COVID-19 pandemic and how parents and caregivers can support student safety and well-being with key officials from the Administration; American Academy of Pediatrics; Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL); and National PTA’s Healthy Minds Ambassador. Among the key officials will be U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Dr. Vivek Murthy and Timothy Shriver. The symposium will be moderated by NBC News Correspondent Rehema Ellis. The event will be held in-person with livestream and recorded viewing options available, including on National PTA’s Facebook page.
“At PTA, we remain committed to meeting parents and families where they are, making sure their voices and perspectives are heard, and providing them with important information, resources and professional expertise,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We are also staying focused on safeguarding the education, health and safety of our nation’s children and making sure students, families and schools have what they need as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and all the time.”
About the Survey
The online survey was conducted by Edge Research among a nationwide sample of more than 2,500 parents and guardians with children in grades K-12 in public school. The survey, fielded in English and Spanish, included oversamples of Latino/a/x parents representing a mix of acculturation levels and Black parents. Data were weighted to be representative of public-school parents in the U.S. The survey was fielded in April 2022.
This project was supported by the CDC Foundation by way of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as part of a financial assistance award totaling $447,531 with more than 99% funded by CDC/HHS and $2,400, less than 1%, funded by non-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.