CDC Foundation and the National PTA Get Parents Ready to go Back to Class

As communities around the country begin another school year during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents, teachers, school staff and administrators are working to ensure safe and productive learning environments for all students.

This week, the CDC Foundation was pleased to sponsor the “Back to Class” Virtual Town Hall, which was hosted by the National PTA and featured opening remarks by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

“The new school year always bring a mix of emotions. All at once, we feel the anticipation of new classmates and teachers, the relief of not having to hear ‘I’m bored’ again and again, the anxiety of juggling your family’s complicated schedule, and that was before the uncertainties of COVID.” – Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States

The Back to Class Town Hall, moderated by NBC News correspondent and mom of three, Kate Snow, and featuring CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky and U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, helped answer parents’ most pressing questions. Throughout the discussion, speakers shared guidance for students and schools and practical resources for parents and teachers.

To inform the town hall, the National PTA, with support from the CDC Foundation, conducted listening sessions in nine states and collected feedback from an in-depth survey from more than 1,000 parents around the country. Survey findings included:

  • Parents are most concerned about children contracting COVID-19 at school and future disruptions resulting in a return to remote learning.
  • Half of parents want their children to return to school in-person this fall; but only one-quarter of parents feel very comfortable sending their children back to school in-person.
  • To keep children safe at school, parents’ top recommendations are to stay home when sick, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, and handwashing—all actions that are not specific to COVID.

To meet these needs, featured speakers and other experts in education, family engagement, family-school partnerships, mental health and social emotional well-being provided

  • Strategies for keeping kids safe at school,
  • Tips for creating meaningful partnerships between parents and teachers, and
  • Mental health approaches for fostering a healthy mind.

Most importantly, Anna King, president of the National PTA, wanted all parents to know “you are not alone.”

The virtual event, streamed live on Facebook, is also available for on-demand viewing any time on the CDC Foundation Facebook page.


Kathleen Jacobson, MPH, is a federal program manager and Erin Norvell, MA, is digital director for the CDC Foundation.

This project was supported by the CDC Foundation by way of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as part of a financial assistance award totaling $447,531 with more than 99% funded by CDC/HHS and $2,400, less than 1%, funded by non-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

Kathleen Jacobson
Kathleen Jacobson, MPH, is a federal program manager for the CDC Foundation.
Erin Norvell
Erin Norvell, MA, is the digital director for the CDC Foundation.