Parents Trust Colleges More than Students for COVID-19 Safety, New Survey by TimelyMD Finds

3-Aug-2020 12:25 PM EDT, by TimelyMD

Newswise — (FORT WORTH, Texas)—When it comes to keeping college students safe from COVID-19, parents put considerably more faith in schools than they do their own children, according to a new survey by TimelyMD, a telehealth company that specializes in higher education. However, parents remain divided about the academic quality and ROI of the education their students will receive this year.

Key findings from the survey fielded last week include:

  • Just over half (54%) of all parents say their students’ colleges or universities have made health and safety their top priority when determining plans for the fall semester.
  • At the same time, half (50%) of parents whose students will take classes in person or via a hybrid model say they believe a coronavirus outbreak is likely on their campus (that number jumps to 68% in Florida). Less than half (46%) of these parents thought their campuses would be prepared to handle an outbreak.
  • Parents are just as concerned about their students’ future job or internship opportunities as they are that their child may become sick with COVID-19 (48% each). Those numbers are significantly higher in California (70% for jobs, 57% for infection), where many students will take classes exclusively online.
  • The top three things that would boost parents’ confidence in the ability of campuses to support their students as the pandemic continues are 1) on-campus enforcement of social distancing, 2) regular COVID-19 testing and 3) access to 24/7 telehealth resources for physical and mental health.

Parents’ confidence dips when it comes to student behavior and responsibility:

  • 40% of parents do not trust that college students will follow public health guidance such as social distancing, wearing masks and limiting gatherings to small groups.
  • 60% of parents worry students will not follow public health guidance when administrators, faculty and staff are not around to enforce such safety measures.

“The coronavirus has amplified parents’ desire for administrative oversight and more student support services. Now more than ever, parents want colleges and universities to take care of their students,” said Luke Hejl, CEO of TimelyMD. “Resuming classes this fall includes anticipating and addressing the concerns, needs and demands of students and their families. Campus leaders can count on TimelyMD to take the weight of accessing medical and mental health care off parents’ worry list by offering all-in-one telehealth solutions wherever students may be.”

The survey provided additional insights from parents:

  • Mental health: 71% indicate at least moderate concern for their student’s mental health, and nearly half (46%) are concerned or very concerned. A previous survey by TimelyMD found that an overwhelming majority (85%) of college students continue to experience increased stress and/or anxiety as a result of COVID-19.
  • ROI: 40% of parents are concerned or very concerned with the value of the financial investment made in their students’ education this fall (46% of parents with students taking online classes only vs. 38% of those of hybrid or in-person learners).
  • Academics: When it comes to the quality of education they believe their children will receive this semester, parents are fairly split overall, though differences emerge by delivery model. Nearly half (48%) of parents of students in online-only programs are concerned or very concerned compared to just over one-third (36%) of those with students taking hybrid or in-person classes.
  • Communication: Over half (54%) are satisfied with the COVID-19-related communications from their students’ schools.

TimelyMD is the only student-first telehealth provider that offers a complete care solution for campus health, with on-demand medical care, on-demand mental health counseling, appointment-based counseling, psychiatric support and health coaching programs designed to meet the exact needs of any college or university.

About the survey: From July 27-29, 2020, TimelyMD conducted a nationwide survey of 591 parents and legal guardians of students enrolled at two-and-four-year colleges and universities regarding the impact of COVID-19 on fall semester plans.

About TimelyMD: Focused on improving the health of student populations, TimelyMD offers universities and colleges a comprehensive, custom program centered around telehealth. TimelyMD’s campus-wide solution gives students one point of contact--anytime, anywhere--to get quality care and immediate treatment for medical or mental health concerns from board certified physicians and licensed counselors. TimelyMD’s telehealth programs optimize clinic resources and support clinic staff in delivering quality care to the right students at the right times. Visit timely.md for more information.


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