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The Impact of a Messaging Intervention on Parents’ School Hesitancy During COVID-19

During the 2020-21 school year, families' access to--and desire to participate in--in-person schooling was highly stratified along racial and income lines. Research to date suggests that "school hesitancy" was driven by concerns about "fit" and safety, as well as simple access to in-person opportunities. In the context of a nationally-representative survey study, we tested the impact of targeted messaging on parents' reported willingness to send their children back for in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year. Our results suggest that specific messages focused on either fit or safety issues outperform generic messages--they substantially increase the reported likelihood for previously-unsure parents to send their children back for in-person learning (while having no effect on parents who already reported they would or would not send their children back). The results have direct implications for education agencies seeking to address school hesitancy as the pandemic continues.

Keywords
Survey research, COVID-19
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/kcm8-f668

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Polikoff, Morgan S., Daniel Silver, Marshall Garland, Anna R. Saavedra, Amie Rapaport, and Michael Fienberg. (). The Impact of a Messaging Intervention on Parents’ School Hesitancy During COVID-19. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-461). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/kcm8-f668

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