(CBS DETROIT)– When it comes to COVID mitigation measures in schools, several organizations such as the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend universal indoor masking for students and staff. But with many schools not requiring mask, some parents opting once again for virtual learning.

“I wanted her to go back to school you know I thought we were going to stick with the whole mask situation until a vaccine is available for everyone and that changed,” said Stacy McDuffie a mom of two concerned about sending kids to in-person school.

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A recent letter from her daughter’s school saying mask wear for the coming school year is recommended but not required, made  McDuffie decide that virtual learning would be the best option for her 2nd grader Alex.

“Kids are in the most vulnerable position right now, it’s tough so we’ll have to just stay the course,” McDuffie said.

That is staying home for a second year, at least until a vaccine is available for smaller children.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital recently conducted a national poll, and found parents and students have more concerns than just mask requirements for the coming school year.

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“The biggest one being, kids worry about having to do virtual school again and with the increase in cases with the Delta variant that is a pretty reasonable worry for kids,” said Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark, M.P.H.

The poll report based on responses from 1,669 parents of kids 7-18 years old also suggest.

Among findings from the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health:

  • Over half of parents say at least one aspect of the 2020-21 school year was worse for their child than the prior year, while 1 in 3 say at least one aspect was better when it came to academic performance, connections with teachers, relationships with other students, and general attitude about school.
  • Parents whose child had mostly virtual school rated more aspects of the last school year as worse, compared to parents whose child had little virtual school.
  • Parents report their children’s top worries for the 2021-22 school year include a repeat of virtual school, being around large groups of kids, being behind on academics and getting along with friends.
  • 4 in 10 parents say their child is more enthusiastic about the 2021-22 school year than last year.
  • 3 in 5 parents say their child would feel safer if most students and teachers were vaccinated against COVID.

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April Morton