Survey Summaries | Return To In-Person Learning

Flexibility in our schedules and methods of learning has been required throughout the pandemic, but our students have continued to learn. Still, we recognize that this situation has not always been ideal for our students, staff, or families, and we are committed to an eventual full return to in-person learning — even as we must do so incrementally.

When our community recently brought up our efforts of providing additional in-person learning time for students at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, we were motivated to continue moving forward with our plans.
 
Discussions on this topic have been ongoing at the administrative level, and we are beginning to expand them to the building level. To facilitate our planning — and to ensure we make decisions with our entire community in mind — we administered surveys to both staff and families.
 
To encourage honest feedback, the surveys did not collect any personally-identifiable information. One limitation of this is the potential for us to have received multiple responses per person. Regardless of whether this occurred, we feel the feedback we received is valuable and wide-ranging.
 
The results have been summarized below, with the exception of free-response comments and suggestions. The qualitative nature of the free-responses makes this data of particular importance to us, because it provides a more detailed idea of our community’s thoughts on this complex situation. This data is still being reviewed.

Staff Survey

The staff survey was open to all employees of the District, including teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, support staff, and administrators. The staff survey received 329 responses.

The staff survey was shorter than the family survey, and it focused on collecting staff sentiment about the most feasible next steps in our return to in-person learning. We purposefully did not seek suggestions regarding other models of learning, because they were previously vetted during our planning in the summer and fall of 2020.

Our staff indicated the following:

  • 66% indicated that they were satisfied with the current “parallel” hybrid model, 17% are dissatisfied with the current model, and the remaining responses indicated that they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
  • 55% are likely to support extending the school day under the current model, 34% are not likely to support extending the school day, and the remaining responses indicated that they were neither likely nor unlikely.
  • 24% are likely to support adding Fridays under the current model, 67% are unlikely to support adding Fridays, and the remaining responses indicated that they were neither likely nor unlikely.
  • 20% are likely to support both adding Fridays and extending the school day under the current model, 73% are unlikely to support adding Fridays and extending the school day, and the remaining responses indicated that they were neither likely nor unlikely.

Family Survey

Our family survey received 2,225 responses. Of those respondents, 476 indicated they had at least one student at Sycamore High School; 455 indicated they had at least one student at Sycamore Middle School; and 1,294 indicated that they had at least one student at an elementary school.

The raw data showed consistency across all levels (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12). For the purposes of summary, the mean of all responses was calculated for each possible response of each question.

The first series of questions for our families addressed the next, most feasible steps in our return to in-person learning.

  • 55% are satisfied with the current hybrid model, 30% are dissatisfied, and the remaining respondents indicated they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
  • 75% are likely to support extending the school day under the current model, 18% are unlikely to support extending the school day, and the remaining respondents indicated they are neither likely nor unlikely to support extending the school day.
  • 71% are likely to support adding Fridays under the current model, 20% are unlikely to support adding Fridays, and the remaining respondents indicated they are neither likely nor unlikely to support adding Fridays.
  • 71% are likely to support both adding Fridays and extending the school day under the current model, 22% are unlikely to support adding Fridays and extending the school day, and the remaining respondents indicated they are neither likely nor unlikely to support adding Fridays and extending the school day.

The next series of questions for families addressed the likelihood that their student(s) would attend school in-person under one of a few different instructional models.

  • 79% indicated that their student(s) would attend school in-person under the current hybrid model.
  • 75% indicated that their student(s) would attend school in-person if the length of the school day was extended under the current model.
  • 73% indicated that their student(s) would attend school in-person if Fridays were added to the current model.
  • 68% indicated that their student(s) would attend school in-person if both Fridays were added and the length of the school day was extended to be a full day.

In order to progress to the next series of questions, we had to ask one very important question regarding social distancing. Some parents have indicated that they would be ok with less than 6 feet of social distancing, so we wanted to get a better sense of how our families felt about that. 65% of our respondents indicated that they would be comfortable with less than 6 feet of social distancing. 31% indicated that they would be uncomfortable with less than 6 feet of social distancing, and the remaining respondents indicated that they would be neither comfortable nor uncomfortable.

That question led to a series of questions regarding different instructional models with less than 6 feet of social distancing.

  • 67% indicated that they would be comfortable with their student(s) attending school in-person under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, 22% indicated that they would be uncomfortable with their student(s) attending school in-person under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, and the remaining respondents indicated that they would neither be comfortable nor uncomfortable with that model.
  • 67% indicated that they would be comfortable with their student(s) attending school in person for an extended day under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, 21% indicated that they would be uncomfortable with their student(s) attending school in-person for an extended day under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, and the remaining respondents indicated that they would neither be comfortable nor uncomfortable with that model.
  • 66% indicated that they would be comfortable with their student(s) attending school in-person if Fridays were added to the school week under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, 23% indicated that they would be uncomfortable with their student(s) attending school in-person if Fridays were added to the school week under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, and the remaining respondents indicated that they would neither be comfortable nor uncomfortable with that model.
  • 65% indicated that they would be comfortable with their student(s) attending school in-person both for an extended day and if we added Fridays under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, 24% indicated that they would be uncomfortable with their student(s) attending school in-person both for an extended day and if we added Fridays under the current model with less than 6 feet of social distancing, and the remaining respondents indicated that they would be neither comfortable nor uncomfortable with that model.

The final question we posed to our families focused on the possibility that elementary students might have to change teachers if a different instructional model were implemented. Of the respondents who have at least one elementary student, 75% of those families indicated that they would not like for their student to change their teachers.

Conclusion

We appreciate the input we received from both our staff and our families. The data is both valuable and wide-ranging, and it will be used to ensure we make decisions with our entire community in mind. If you have any questions regarding these results or would like to share additional feedback, please email us at communications@syc427.org.