As things inch closer to going back to normal in the United States via the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, CivicScience data show that U.S. parents are increasingly more ready to send their children back to the classroom.

That’s according to survey results from this past month, which show that more than half of parents of school-age children prefer in-classroom only for the current school year, just three months or so away from its end. This is up substantially from the beginning of the school year in the fall, at which point only 39% of parents said the same.

Another way to parse the data: American parents are still quite split on the schooling debacle. While half prefer the classroom experience, the other half prefer some cadence of virtual learning, be it full-time or part-time.

While in-classroom learning appears the most preferable option for all working adults, parents who are working in-person positions are the most comfortable with sending their kids to the classroom during the pandemic. Remote workers are the least likely to have this preference, and the most likely to prefer a hybrid model of some sort.

Parents who have lost their job as a result of the pandemic are the most likely in the following cross tabulation to prefer online-only learning this school year.

Interestingly, stress plays a role in this, but not in the way you might expect. Those who would prefer classroom-only learning this school year are the least stressed out, while those who would prefer online-only learning are the most stressed. Those who would prefer a hybrid learning model fall somewhere in between the two groups.

Maybe stress is just a proxy for pandemic worries. Those who are very or somewhat concerned about being in public because of the pandemic are much less likely to prefer an in-classroom experience for their kids this year, the complete opposite of those who deem themselves not at all concerned about public spaces.

Women and men have near identical preferences this school year, though moms are ever so slightly more preferable to the online-only model. 

A striking demographic difference was found when looking at household income. Those in the lowest income bracket are the least comfortable with classroom-only learning and show the greatest preference for an online-only environment for the rest of this school year.

An ongoing trend CivicScience is seeing time and time again is those who are the most comfortable getting back out there and rejoining their old activities and haunts – be it travel, restaurants, or public events – under-index by a long shot as COVID-19 vaccine intenders.

We see the very same trend when it comes to parental schooling preference right now. 

First, those who would prefer an online-only or hybrid learning model this school year are much more likely to say they’d vaccinate their child against COVID-19 as soon as they could (or at least eventually). On the other hand, nearly half of the parents who prefer classroom learning right now say they would not get their child vaccinated. That’s likely because they are much less likely to get the vaccine themselves.

As a fourth surge is upon us, we’ll be sure to track if and when sentiment among U.S. parents changes for the rest of the school year – and even for next year.