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Thoughtexchange Reveals Range of Views on School Reopening: July 2020

Thirty-six percent (36%) of participants in a “Thought Exchange” on public school re-openings were comfortable or very comfortable returning students to school this fall, while 25% remained undecided. Twenty-nine percent (29%) were not comfortable with sending students back to in-person classes.

These were the results of a survey conducted by Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES using the Thoughtexchange platform for 14 area school districts to gauge public sentiment on re-opening. The goal of the survey was not only to gauge support for re-opening but to allow parents and community members to voice specific concerns and make suggestions that could be used to shape districts’ re-opening plans.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce a decision on school re-opening in early August. All school districts are required to submit detailed plans for re-entry in accordance with state guidance by July 31, unless extended by the State.

Rather than asking participants to answer a series of questions as typical surveys do, Thoughtexchange begins with an open-ended question and allows participants to enter thoughts on the topic and to react to the thoughts entered by others. Because participants can immediately see reactions to their comments and react to others, the platform is more engaging than a traditional survey.

In all, the Thoughtexchange, which was open to participating districts from July 6 through July 13, had 14,478 participants, 23,321 thoughts and 666,733 ratings. The following districts participated: Bedford, Brewster, Carmel, Chappaqua, Croton-Harmon, Garrison, Hendrick Hudson, Mahopac, Katonah-Lewisboro, Lakeland, North Salem, Ossining, Peekskill and Somers.

Regarding the critical question, “If schools were authorized to re-open in September, how comfortable would you be sending your child to school?” Hendrick Hudson School District participants aligned closely with the overall PNW BOCES results. Thirty-four percent (34%) said they would be comfortable sending their student back to school, 29% said they would not be comfortable, and 21% were undecided. The remaining percentage responded that this question was “not applicable.”

“The purpose of this survey was to provide a wide range of perspectives in a short amount of time to help guide our planning,” said Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter.

Click here to see the top 200 thoughts posted by Hendrick Hudson participants.

Be sure to regularly check on the Reopening FAQ on the District website: