New Data: COVID Back-to-school

Hello from SurveyMonkey! 

We’re back with a post-Labor Day, back-to-school-in-the-time-of-COVID edition of our newsletter. (We’ll save the politics for next week.) 

Tracking the spread of COVID-19 is an imperative for schools of every level this fall. Since early May, SurveyMonkey has surveyed ~50,000 people across the U.S. every week in partnership with Covid Near You, a joint team of epidemiologists from Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School that uses crowdsourced data to help citizens and public health agencies identify current and potential hotspots for COVID-19. 

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely stressed about what’s best for your children: returning to school in-person or being stuck at home doing virtual learning. Early public health research has found disparate potential risks for children of different ages, and one recent New England Journal of Medicine article advocates for children in primary schools in particular (grades 1-5) to be permitted to return to school in person. But, in our latest survey with Covid Near You, we see notably little variation in parents’ intent to send their children to school in-person by the child’s grade in school. Daycare, preschool, and kindergarten children are as likely as college students to be attending school in person at least some of the time. 

Our data show large partisan and demographic differences in parents’ comfort with sending their kids back to school in person (and this is backed up by SurveyMonkey’s polling with NBC News — see below). 

Also of note: SurveyMonkey launched our own continuous coronavirus tracker back in mid-February, and we update our findings on a weekly basis here:

Polling highlights:

  • “When asked to grade the quality of education their children will have because of the coronavirus pandemic, just 18 percent of parents gave it an "A" and 26 percent said "B," while a third — 33 percent — gave it a "C." Another 13 percent of adults with children said their children would receive a "D"-quality education this fall, and 10 percent said it would be an "F.”.” by Melissa Holzberg and Ben Kamisar for NBC News (link

  • “A second lockdown proposed by Trump would get more support from Americans than one proposed by Biden” by Lance Lambert for Fortune (link)

That’s it for this week—thanks for reading! Hit reply to send us any questions or feedback. 

-Laura Wronski