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Only 17% Of Returning Students Prefer Full-time In-person Instruction: Study

students aug14 lt

Only 17 percent of students express a desire to return to full-time in-person instruction when colleges re open after a coronavirus pandemic-induced long closure, a national student survey conducted in late July by Simpson Scarborough has found.

Majority of students are preferring remote instruction, according to the survey.

30 percent of returning students want to stay home and take all classes online, while 41 percent want to go back to campus but take a mixture of online and in-person classes.

These findings significantly contradict the results of a survey conducted in March and April, when students reported that the quality of the online instruction they were receiving was worse than the in-person instruction they received on campus.

Those students who said they would prefer to stay home and take classes online mainly because of higher anxiety over contracting the deadly disease when they return to campus, and feel less safe about living in residence halls.

Although deadlines have passed and deposits have been made, students are much more uncertain about their college decisions now than they were in the spring. Schools are counting these students as part of their incoming class, but almost half of them indicate that they may not attend.

50 percent of students planning to attend a private school say they are likely/highly likely to change their mind, compared to 32 percent of students planning to attend a public school. Cost may be a factor here, given the current discussion around virtual learning and its effect on cost-to-value ratio in more expensive schools, the Washington-based higher education research, marketing, and branding agency says.

40 percent of incoming freshmen say that it is likely or highly likely they will not go to college in the fall.

In the survey, SimpsonScarborough tried to see if students had become any more settled in their fall plans, gauge their perceptions of their institutions' reopening models, and ask how they will adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions when and if they do return to campus.

Following are the key findings of the study: All enrollment is highly volatile; students don't fully trust their institutions or fellow students to keep them safe; students are worried they'll contract the virus, issues of race and inequity are exacerbated by COVID-19, and effective communications are essential for brand trust.

The results of the study was released as President Donald Trump called on all schools in the country to make plans to resume in-person classes as soon as possible.

In his opinion, prolonged school closures will severely limit economic reopening, because it limits the ability of parents to work, particularly those from lower- and middle-income families.

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