BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Johns Hopkins has received a National Institutes of Health grant to study parents’ perceptions of COVID-19 safety measures in the classroom.

The $1.47 million project will focus on eight school systems in Maryland with the highest populations of underserved students, including Baltimore City Public Schools.

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“COVID-19 policies, particularly school return guidelines and mitigation efforts like vaccination and testing, vary across school systems,” said Sara Johnson, director of the Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We will be able to evaluate these differences and understand what strategies help parents feel most comfortable in the return to in-person school, and why some approaches are more successful than others.”

Researchers in the study will hold community conversations, host focus groups and conduct surveys to study what makes parents willing to let their children return to in-person learning, specifically for students in kindergarten through 8th grade.

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Experts from four different programs within Hopkins will conduct the study, along with researchers from Morgan State University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Once data is compiled, researchers will design messaging campaigns for school systems.

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“We plan to suggest policies and strategies to clear up misconceptions, make sure families are able to accommodate the policies, and suggest strategies to build parent and stakeholder support that help keep kids in in-person school,” Johnson said.

CBS Baltimore Staff