Washington, DC, May 26, 2020 – Two parallel polls conducted on behalf of USA Today from May 18-21, 2020 explore the experiences of teachers of kindergarten through high school and adults across the country, including a sub-sample of parents with at least one child in K-12.
The USA Today/Ipsos poll among U.S. adults finds support for a range of proposals for how to return to school in the fall, yet less than half of Americans are in favor of students and teachers returning before there is a vaccine. Another poll of K-12 teachers conducted simultaneously shows similar levels of support, both for different ways of returning and for doing so before there is a vaccine.
Most parents of school-aged children feel their kids have adapted well to online learning, yet a majority acknowledge they are worried about their child(ren) and that teachers have struggled to support their child(ren)’s distance learning. At the same time, many teachers also feel parents have struggled to help support online or distance learning, according to the parallel survey of teachers.
- More than half of Americans support a range of suggested proposals for returning to in-person learning next fall. Nearly two-thirds think it is likely that schools will re-open in the fall, yet less than half support returning to school before there is a coronavirus vaccine.
- If schools reopened in the fall, more than half of parents with a school-aged child report being very or somewhat likely to switch to at-home learning. Two-thirds or more of parents would be likely to ask their child to wear a mask at school and say their child would likely have difficulty complying with social distancing at school.
- Parents with a child that is online or distance learning agree that they have sufficient and easy-touse resources to aid in the transition, yet most agree that teachers have struggled to support their child(ren)’s distance learning.
According to the USA Today/Ipsos poll among 505 K-12 teachers, most did not feel well-trained for the task and feel as if they cannot properly do their job. Supermajorities also believe online or distance learning is causing their students to fall behind and that parents have struggled to help support these efforts. Teachers are much more likely to report these concerns than parents of school-aged children, according to a similar survey among the general public that fielded at the same time.
- Less than half of teachers agree their school district trained them well for online or distance learning. Most report working more than usual and that they cannot properly do their job. There are also widespread concerns about parental support.
- Though some proposals regarding how to return to school in the fall receive majority support, fewer are in favor of returning to school before there is a coronavirus vaccine.
- Nearly nine in ten teachers believe it would be hard to enforce social distancing guidelines at school. One in five say it is likely they would not return to teaching if their school was to reopen.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of two parallel Ipsos polls conducted between May 18-20, 2020 and May 18-21, 2020, on behalf of USA Today. For the study of U.S. adults, a sample of 2,008 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 403 parents with at least one child in kindergarten through high school. For the study of K-12 teachers, a sample of 505 teachers age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. Partial findings from two previous USA Today/Ipsos polls conducted August 9-13, 2018 among roughly 2,010 adults and January 11-17, 2019 among roughly 504 teachers are included as well.
The samples for these studies were randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The samples drawn for these studies reflect fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In the poll of U.S. adults, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=2,008, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/4.0 percentage points). For the poll of teachers K-12, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.0 percentage points for all respondents and a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=505, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-6.5 percentage points).
The poll of the adult population also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points for parents with at least one child in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Additionally, the USA Today/Ipsos polls conducted August 9-13, 2018 and January 11-17, 2019 have a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 and 5.0 percentage points, respectively.
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