School restrictions and closures during the Covid pandemic continue to fuel a rapid rise in the prevalence of homeschooling.
In the spring of 2020, around 5.4 percent of households in the United States with school-age kids said they were homeschooling. By the time fall hit, that number had increased to 11.1 percent or more than 1 in 10.
“That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-21 school year compared to the prior year,” the U.S. Census Bureau said.
“The Los Angeles Times” reported that in California, almost 35,000 families filed an affidavit with the state to start a private home school for five or fewer kids during the 2020-21 school year. That number was more than twice the number of affidavits filed in 2018-19. Parents are increasingly interested in alternative forms of schooling as many schools continue to threaten closures or force students to wear masks in the midst of the Omicron variant. The World Health Organization has reported that Omicron poses no real threat to those under 18 unless they have serious health concerns.
“There is dissatisfaction with how folks were being taught and treated in schools,” said Martin Whitehead, spokesman for the Homeschool Association of California.
California policies might lead more parents to make similar decisions about schooling for their children. Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan proposed a bill that would add COVID-19 vaccinations to the state’s list of inoculations for grades K-12 in a move that would require all students to be fully vaccinated starting in 2023. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom also has announced an executive order that will require students 12 and old to be vaccinated for COVID-19 after the vaccine is fully approved by the FDA.
Newsom’s executive order allows for medical and religious exemptions. Pan’s new bill, however, does not currently include a religious exemption. Another bill introduced in the state last week would permit students 12 years of age and up to get the COVID-19 vaccine without parental permission
Voters also are responding to school measures and policies by electing new leadership. Newly elected Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia signed an executive order allowing parents to opt out of school mask mandates if they do not want their children to wear a face covering in school.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice