A majority of parents believe their children have fallen behind due to distance learning that was widely adopted during the pandemic, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by USA Today and Ipsos, found that 55 percent of parents believe online or distance learning caused their children to fall behind, which was up from the 46 percent of respondents who felt the same way last year.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents said their children will eventually be able to make up any lost ground, which was down slightly from 73 percent in 2020.
On the topic of educators, 60 percent of respondents said teachers have struggled to help support their children’s online or distance learning, which was an increase from the 52 percent who said the same last year.
The percentage of adults who believe their school districts prepared their children well for online or distance learning during the pandemic dropped significantly from 2020, falling from 65 percent to 50 percent in the recent poll.
The numbers regarding distance learning come as students across the nation are beginning to return to the classroom to begin the fall semester after a year and a half marked by remote learning.
Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaPresident, first lady honor teachers at White House awards ceremony Ilhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' Florida Board of Education approves sanctions on eight school districts over coronavirus mandates MORE told The Washington Post in a recent interview that the pandemic worsened achievement disparities among students, and contended that the best way to close the gap is through in-person learning.
However, parents remain divided over where students should be learning. According to survey released last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Parent Teacher Association, 43 percent of parents support in-person classes, while 40 percent prefer hybrid learning.
And efforts to return the classroom are still being stymied by the pandemic.
At least 90,000 students in 19 states had to quarantine or isolate in the beginning weeks of the school year after contracting COVID-19 or coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
The USA Today/Ipsos poll also found that roughly two in three parents of children under the age of 18 say they support mask mandates for teachers and students amid a rise in pediatric COVID-19 infections.
The poll, which was conducted online between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, surveyed roughly 2,000 adults, about a fifth of whom are parents of schoolchildren. The credibility interval is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.