Survey shows most parents prefer in-person learning

Robert Smith

As Pawhuska Public Schools prepares to reopen for the fall semester, it has surveyed parents online to find out about their reactions to operating in the COVID-19 environment.

Superintendent David Cash on Monday evening shared survey data with members of the Board of Education. There had been 232 responses to the survey as a whole, though the individual response items drew fewer than 232 responses.

Seventy-two percent of participants said they preferred in-person learning with a traditional school calendar. When participants were asked to indicate if they preferred in-person learning with safety measures such as social distancing, personal safety equipment and restricted access built into the Pawhuska school district’s approach, 69.2 percent responded in the affirmative.

Additionally, 66.7 percent of those responding indicated they would be supportive of scheduling a distance learning day each week to allow deep cleaning of school buildings. Pawhuska school administrators have already responded affirmatively to that finding, by proposing that each Monday during the 2020-21 academic year should be a virtual learning day to allow for deep cleaning, and to allow the school district to make adjustments in its overall COVID-19 safety approach, as needed.

An overwhelming majority of participants, 84.2 percent, indicated they plan to provide transportation for their children to and from school to help minimize possible exposure to COVID-19. A sizable minority of the participants, 23.2 percent, indicated they would not consider in-person learning for their children and would consider full-time distance learning.

A majority of participants, 56.3 percent, indicated they are concerned about student academic growth in the COVID-19 prevention environment, and an equal share of participants expressed at least some concern about their ability to support their children’s learning at home, if necessary; however, 74.9 percent of participants indicated they did not have concerns about whether they could provide their children with Internet access to conduct distance learning activities, and 85.7 percent indicated they did not have concerns about their ability to provide their children with transportation to and from school.

Cash said Monday that Pawhuska Public Schools currently has more Chromebook laptop computers than it has students, and has acquired and is ready to check out hot-spot equipment as needed to support distance learning.

Assistant Superintendent Beverly Moore said the district will be able to use federal money to install Wi-Fi on all district school buses.