Introduction: Whether children should go back to school amidst the COVID-19 menace, is currently a burning issue. The perception of parents on their children returning to school varies. This may be due to discrepancies in the learning methods available to the children at home, as well as the child’s exposure to the vices and abuse of the internet. Aim: To determine the maternal perception and preferences with regard to their readiness to send their children back to school in the COVID-19 Pandemic. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study undertaken in a tertiary health institution in South East Nigeria. Systematic random sampling technique was used to select mothers who presented in the three units of children out- patient department in the hospital. A pre-tested interviewer- administered questionnaire was used to collect information from the respondents. Chi-square test and multivariate analysis using binary logistic regression were used in the analysis. The level of statistical significance was determined by a p-value of <0.05. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 40.1±12.3 years and the highest proportion (33.2%) were in the age group 30-39 years. Majority of them (78.5%) were married. Majority of the respondents (56.7%) were willing to allow children return to school. The major reason for not allowing children return to school was their distrust in the schools’ preventive measures (80.6%). Predictors of willingness of mothers to allow children return to school included being <30 years, {Adjusted Odds Ratios (AOR)=0.3, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.2- 0.7}, being married, (AOR=0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-0.7) and having poor knowledge of preventive practices against COVID-19, (AOR=2.8, 95% CI: 1.7-4.8). Conclusion: Majority of mothers preferred that children should return to school. The younger age group and the married women were more likely to allow children go back to school. The respondents who had poor knowledge of preventive practices were also more eager that children should return to school.

The coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of over 60% of schools in 186 countries forcing about 1.5 billion students to remain at home [1]. The reopening of schools is laden with fear and resentment especially when the rate of infection continues to soar at an alarming high-rate [2]. This unpreparedness to reopen schools is further worsened by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warning that school activities will likely lead to the spread of COVID-19 in schools [2]. However, some countries such as Denmark, Germany, Finland and Norway, as at the time of this report, have reopened their schools after inculcating washing of hands, keeping desks at two meters apart and cleaning of education materials twice a day without necessarily wearing face mask [2]. These measures were reported to have caused significant reduction in mortality rate to as low as 10 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to America, where schools have not reopened but death rate was as high as 42.29 deaths per 100, 000 [2]. Reopening of schools is also very crucial because children rarely get infected with the virus, due to denudation of the mucosal receptor site to ACE inhibitors. Research has also shown that children are not infected as much as adults, and when they are infected, they rarely have severe infection [2]. Again in the United States, two hundred children have been tested positive for the coronavirus constituting, 7.6% of cases, with only 63 deaths and as much as three hundred children have developed multi- system inflammatory syndrome which gives them immunity after COVID-19 infection [3-7].

It is important to note that studies done in Spain, France and England showed that children have about fifty percent likelihood of developing antibodies to COVID-19, from previous infection [8], though it was noted that closing schools slowed viral transmission and reduced mortality by about 4% [8]. On the contrary, a study showed that children may be exposed to COVID-19 less often than adults since majority of them were sequestered at home during the pandemic while their parents continued with their daily activity [9].

A study on school readiness in the United States, showed that eleven percent of parents whose children are currently not in school, reported that their children are not getting any type of education, while forty-two percent of parents worry that COVID-19 will seriously affect child’s education [10].

Though integrated digital learning platforms such as, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), video lessons, radio and television broadcast, exist [11], and as fascinating as these innovations may be, children from low-income communities, who have no access to these, will be left out during this period [11].

This is the first ever study undertaken in this vicinity, as much is unknown in literature, with respect to school reopening especially in Nigeria. This study was aimed to determine the maternal perception and preferences regarding their readiness to send children back to school in the COVID-19 Pandemic. The findings from this study, may be a wakeup call to the government to consider reopening schools as the infection in children and mortality is very minimal. Perception of parents on children at pre-primary education going back to school after covid-19

The following are the objectives of this study:

• To examine the perception of parents towards school resumption after the covid 19 lockdown

• To examine the Willingness of mothers to allow children resume school amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

• To determine the Predictors of mothers’ willingness to allow children return to school amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

The following are the significance of this study:

This study will educate the general public on the need for good parental involvement and their impact on school resumption after covid 19 lockdown. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic

This study will cover all the areas that parents need to properly take care of to prevent the transmission of the covid virus, as the effect of these variables will be examined of the pupil’s academic performance

Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

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