A new survey published Wednesday found that 85 per cent of parents across India are now willing to send their children back to school.

The survey, by a Bengaluru-based pre-school and day care centre called KLAY, was conducted across two phases — once in November 2020 and then in February 2021 — among 2,000 families spread across Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Noida, Gurgaon and Mumbai.

While the first phase of the survey had found that 53 per cent parents were unwilling to send their wards to schools, the second phase found a significant shift in their stand. Eighty five per cent of the parents surveyed in the seven cities said they were in favour of sending their children to a “safe and happy” environment by June 2021, the report said.

The survey aimed to find “unique needs of families during the pandemic and evaluate the parents’ willingness to send their children back to school and day-care in the new normal”.

While several surveys over the last year had found that parents were uncomfortable sending their children back to school, the latest one indicated a possible shift in attitude owing to a drop in coronavirus cases and administration of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Schools in Delhi and other parts of the country have reopened after a 10-month hiatus.

The survey also found that parents of young children, between 0 and six years of age, are concerned about the mental and emotional well being of their kids since physical activity and social interaction are the two important aspects that remained compromised during the lockdown.

60% parents concerned about children’s safety

The survey also noted that 60 per cent parents expressed concern about the safety of their children in case they go back to schools, while 21 per cent parents were interested in knowing the safety protocols that would be followed.

Sixteen per cent parents were apprehensive about sanitisation of surfaces, such as play areas, toys and other items and another 10 per cent wanted to understand more about the vaccination plans for the school staff, found the survey.

Around 11 per cent parents who took the survey also expressed concern over physical distancing among preschoolers and were apprehensive about the transition of young children from home schooling to physical classrooms.

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