Survey: Teens worry about in-person classes but online learning falls short

A recent survey found that many teenagers are feeling a significant amount of concern about the prospect of returning to in-person instruction in the school year ahead. At the same time, many said their online classes last spring did not offer the same quality of education they received while still in school.

The survey, which was done by the research firm ENGINE Insights on behalf of Junior Achievement, asked 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 about a range of topics related to the coronavirus and its potential impact on their futures.

Two-thirds of teens said they were concerned about going to classes in person in the fall, and 39% of those who said they were concerned reported that they were either “extremely” or “very” concerned.

Though there is clearly some anxiety about returning to in-person instruction during a pandemic, over half (53%) of the teens who responded to the survey said they found their online class quality to be either “poor” or “fair.”

Most respondents hoped to see some sort of in-person education in the fall, with 26% saying they would like to attend classes five days a week, and 36% said they wanted a blend of online education with in-person instruction.

Some 30% said they wanted their classes to be fully online this fall.

As a number of D.C.-area school systems continue to finalize their fall plans, many have opted to begin the year entirely virtually, though some have plans to implement a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction.

“These results show that our young people are just as overwhelmed and conflicted by current events as many adults are,” said Kate Keverline, communication associate at Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. “They also show that teens are struggling to remain hopeful in the face of the pandemic, economic upheaval and inequity.”

Some of the other responses showed that the teens surveyed fear COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their futures: 28% expressed concern that their dreams would not come true because of the pandemic, 27% said they were worried they would not be able to find a job that would pay a living wage and 21% were anxious about not being able to provide for their families as an adult.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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