Back in August, families with children in Hartford Public Schools responded to an online survey aimed at finding out the reasons behind their decision to send their kids back to school.
According to Hartford Public Schools data, 10,000 students in the district are learning remotely, while 8,000 have returned to the classroom. Robert Cotto Jr., a researcher at Trinity College, surveyed 155 families on why they chose either in-person education or remote learning for the fall semester.
He found that 57% of families responded no to in-person school and 43% said yes. For parents like Lupita Contreras, an essential worker at a supermarket, there’s no choice but to send her children back to school.
“I am determined to send my children to school and take the classes there, and it is an individual decision,” she said in Spanish. “Because there are many of us who work every day and there is no other option but to have them go back to school. We have already prepared the children. We’re telling them how to take care of themselves, how to take precautions and everything, and for the moment, we’re going to keep moving forward.”
Kirsis Gil also chose in-person learning for her children, an 11-year-old and 8-year-old who attend school Windsor and Rocky Hill. Gil, who was preparing to return to her job as a school bus driver, said she wasn't happy about needing to choose in-person learning.
“Yes, unfortunately, yes, child care is too expensive. It’s tough [to] have them out of town, and I’m working out of town, too. It’s tough,” said Gil.
Regardless of which option they chose, families were most concerned with safety. However, families who selected in-person learning most often cited the need to work and a lack of access to resources like day care and teachers' support as reasons for their choice.