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Poll finds majority of parents prefer two-month staggered start to school year

Last Updated Aug 24, 2020 at 6:00 am EST

Summary

Almost seven in 10 GTA parents of elementary students would like to see some kids return in September


When it comes to parents of high school students, 63 per cent support a similar staggered return


Parents are split in the belief that janitorial staff have the resources and people needed to keep schools clean


Less than three weeks before the scheduled start of the new school year, two-thirds of parents say they prefer a gradual two-month school reopening rather than a hard start.

According to the Maru/Blue public opinion poll, almost seven in 10 GTA parents of elementary students would like to see some kids return in September and, depending on how that goes, allowing more students to return in October.

When it comes to parents of high school students, 63 per cent support a similar staggered return.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has told school boards that they would be allowed to stagger the start of school, but only over the first two weeks of the year.

Previously, the government had told boards that they could stagger the start of school over the first week of the year if they felt it would help improve safety.

The Toronto District School Board — the biggest in the province — has said it would stagger the start of the school year over the first two weeks of the academic year.

The York Region District School Board has also informed parents that it is planning a staggered start for elementary and high school students but no further details have been provided.

The survey also found parents are split in the belief that janitorial staff have the necessary resources and people needed to keep schools clean. Fifty-three per cent agree while 47 per cent don’t believe this is the case.

The poll of 761 randomly selected Ontario parents of elementary and secondary school students was conducted from Aug. 14-17 and is considered accurate within plus or minus four per cent.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report