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What Coronavirus Means for Business of Back to School

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The thought of heading back to school in the fall is keeping students and their parents awake once again, but this time, it’s a little different.

According to a survey of 1,200 parents conducted by Deloitte, 66% of parents are worried about sending their children back to school in the fall. The results of the survey come amid a recent resurgence of cases of coronavirus. As of July 8, U.S. reported cases surpasses 2.99 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Tuesday saw reported cases in Texas surpass 10,000 for the first time ever.

Many schools have yet to provide parents with plans for reopening or even a date for the first day of classes. During the initial outbreak in March, physical classrooms were shuttered amid the larger shutdown, forcing many institutions to offer online learning alternatives.

However, only 43% of the parents surveyed reported they felt online schooling adequately prepared their child for the next grade.

Back-to-school fears are also catching Washington’s attention as President Donald Trump said he plans to pressure state governors and educators to reopen in the fall. “Open your schools in the fall,” Trump told attendees of a White House event Tuesday.

Responding in a statement, National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia said, “The reality is no one should listen to Donald Trump or Betsy DeVos when it comes to what is best for students. Trump has not once proven credible, compassionate or thoughtful when it comes to this pandemic.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding back-to-school, Deloitte expects back-to-school spending of $28.1 billion, or $529 per household. 

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