Parents’ Response to H1N1-Related School Closings
FIELD DATES: November 19 – December 9, 2009
- Incidence of school closures – Twenty-six percent of parents in high closure areas who experienced a school/daycare closure (26%) reported experiencing a school closure since the start of the school year in August/September 2009, compared to 2% nationally. Most of these closures were for a short amount of time.
- Views on school closure decisions – The vast majority (90%) of parents in high closure areas whose children’s schools/daycares closed agreed with the decision to close the school/daycare, with 71% agreeing strongly and 19% agreeing somewhat. Most parents whose children’s school/daycare closed believed that at least one of three factors was a major reason the institution had closed: To keep children apart and reduce the chance they would infect each other (81%); because the school felt it was important to clean the building and surfaces that children touch in order to reduce the spread of the illness (73%); or because the school or daycare could not operate effectively when a lot of students are absent (58%).
- Problems encountered during school closures – Most parents who experienced a school/daycare closure (75%) said that having the institution closed was not a problem for their family. Only 3% said it was a major problem, while 20% said it was a minor problem. The issues most commonly experienced were that a parent had to miss work (20%) or a child missed free or reduced cost school lunches (19%).
- Re-congregation during school closures – The majority of parents in high closure areas who experienced a school/daycare closure reported that their children participated in at least one activity involving people outside the household during the closure. Fifty-six percent of these parents reported that their children participated in at least one of a specific list of such activities; less than a third reported that they participated in any given activity.
METHODS AND SAMPLE: Telephone poll conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,354 parents of children under the age of 18 enrolled in school or daycare. Of those, a total of 1,110 interviews were conducted with national respondents and a total of 1,244 interviews were conducted with respondents that live in high closure areas. Of the respondents that live in high closure areas, 523 experienced school closures and 721 did not experience school closures.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
- Report – H1N1-Related School Closings
- Report Summary – H1N1-Related School Closings
- Topline – H1N1-Related School Closings