As students head back to in-person classes, parents are weighing the options of sending students back on a school bus.
According to a recent Cars.com survey sent to parents nationwide with school-age children with 1,050 responses, two-thirds of students will return to full-time, in-person classes. Compare that to last year, when only 39 percent of parents opted to send their students back full time. Of the 1,050 parents, 63 percent said they have children ages 8 years old and younger.
However, fewer parents feel comfortable sending their children on the school bus. The survey, conducted on July 28, found that 38 percent of parents said they would put their children on the school bus, while 44 percent would have prior to the pandemic.
“For the parents who previously took advantage of the school bus, 55 percent cite COVID-19 as the main driver in their decision to find alternative transportation, and nearly a quarter of respondents are using their personal vehicles even though it negatively impacts their daily routine,” the survey reported. It added that 54 percent of parents will drive their children to school, up by two percent from before the pandemic.
For those opting to send their child on the bus or via a carpool, 78 percent of parents will have their child use hand sanitizer and 69 percent will have their child wear a mask, a decrease of 10 percent from the 2020-2021 school year.
Related: California Mandates COVID-19 Vaccines for All School Staff
Related: Florida School District Short Over 100 Bus Drivers at Startup
Related: Florida School District Bucks Governor’s Ban on Mask Mandate
Related: Tennessee Parents Allowed to Opt Out of School Bus Mask Mandates
Related: Students on Georgia Bus Route Quarantined After Positive COVID-19 Cases Reported
“While many parents are eager for the return of in-person learning this fall, nearly 90 percent are concerned about the delta variant and, as a result, are choosing different modes of transportation for their school-aged children,” stated Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief for Cars.com and a mother herself. “It’s not surprising that parents are prioritizing health and safety, and by driving their kids themselves, parents feel they can better protect their family — even if it means longer drop-off lines or for many, a disruption to their family’s daily routine.”
In addition, 59 percent of parents surveyed reported that their children 12 and older are vaccinated against COVID-19. Plus, 59 percent of parents with children ages 5 to 11 plan to vaccinate their children when it becomes available. According to the Mayo Clinic, less than 13 percent of children under age 18 were vaccinated nationwide, as of this report.
However, regardless of vaccination status, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidance and recommends universal masking for all students 2 years old and up, as well as all school staff and visitors. Plus, the mask mandate on school buses and public transit remains in effect.