Importance: As schools consider reopening for in-person instruction prior to availability of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, families may be weighing their priorities regarding school attendance .
Objective: To characterize the association of planned in-person school attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic with factors, including family socioeconomic characteristics, and parent attitudes and beliefs about their child's school attendance . Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional survey study . Data were collected from June 2 , 2020, to June 5 , 2020, weighted to reflect population norms, and analyzed using ordered probit regression . A sample of US parents (of children ages 5-17 years) were recruited using a nonprobability survey panel with stratification by socioeconomic characteristics . Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome was parent-reported plan to send their child to school or keep their child home, conditional on their school opening for in-person instruction . Additional measures assessed family socioeconomic characteristics, medical vulnerability, worry about COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, confidence in their child's school, and homeschooling difficulties .
Results: The sample of 730 parents was balanced by parent sex (53% women) with successful oversampling for Black (28% ; n = 201) and Hispanic (27% ; n = 200) participants . In estimates weighted to US population norms , 31% (95% CI , 27% to 34 %) of participants indicated they would probably or definitely keep their child home this fall, and 49% indicated that they would probably or definitely send their child to school this fall . Factors associated with planning to keep children home included lower income (38% with incomes <$ 50â¯000 vs 21% with incomes $100â¯000- $150â¯000 per year; difference , 17% ; 95% CI , 9% to 26 %), being unemployed (40% unemployed vs 26% employed; difference , 14% ; 95% CI , 5% to 25 %), and having a flexible job (33% with flexible jobs vs 19% with inflexible jobs; difference , 14% ; 95% CI , 5% to 30 %). Planning to keep children home was also associated with fear of COVID-19 (B = 0.19; P <.001), fear of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (B = 0.12; P = .04), confidence in schools (B = -0.22; P <.001), and challenges of homeschooling (B = -0.12; P = .01). Race and ethnicity were not significantly associated with plans to keep children home . Conclusions and Relevance: In this survey study, many parents planned to keep children home in fall 2020 . Schools need to act soon to address parental concerns and provide options for what will be available for them should they opt to keep their child home . Structural barriers, such as lack of workplace flexibility and potential school-level inequities in implementation of preventive measures, must be acknowledged and addressed where possible.