Back-to-School Survey: Two-thirds of teens concerned about attending school in-person this fall

Research by Junior Achievement Also Shows Teens’ Top Concerns for the Future

A new survey from Junior Achievement (JA) by research firm ENGINE Insights shows that two-thirds of teens (66%) are concerned about attending school in-person this fall, with a significant percentage (39%) responding that they are “extremely” or “very” concerned. Nearly three-in-four teens (71%) say that their parents or caregivers are concerned about them attending school in-person this fall. The survey of 1,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 17 was conducted July 14-19, 2020.

Despite these concerns, most teens (53%) say that the quality of their online classes from the spring was “fair” or “poor.” A quarter of teens (26%) reported that they would prefer to attend school in-person five days a week, while more than a third (36%) prefer a blended schedule, where they would attend school in-person a couple of days a week and take the rest of their lessons online. Just under a third (30%) say that they would prefer classes exclusively online this fall.

The survey also asked teens about their concerns about the future:

  • The top concern shared by nearly half of respondents (49%) is that the quality of their education will suffer due to the pandemic.
  • Nearly as many (47%) are concerned that they or a member of their family will get sick from COVID-19.
  • More than a quarter of respondents (28%) said that they are concerned that their dreams won’t come true due to current circumstances.
  • Other concerns include:
    • Not being able to have a job or career that pays a living wage (27%)
    • Their family’s financial situation getting worse due to the economy (26%)
    • Not being able to provide for themselves or their families as an adult (21%)
    • Having to borrow too much for college (20%)
    • They or someone they know not being treated equally as adults (15%)

“These results show that our young people are just as overwhelmed and conflicted by current events as many adults are,” said Casey Pash, President and CEO. “They also show that teens are struggling to remain hopeful in the face of the pandemic, economic upheaval, and inequity. That’s why at Junior Achievement, we are committed to providing young people with the tools, resources, and support they need to navigate these uncertain times and strive toward a better future.”

Junior Achievement of Greater South Carolina will be offering JA programs for K-12 classrooms this school year, even through virtual delivery models to teach students the life skills of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. For more information on Junior Achievement programs in South Carolina, please reach out to the Junior Achievement office at 803-252-1974 or visit our website at


This Youth CARAVAN survey was conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS among a sample of 1,000 respondents aged 13-17. This survey was live on July 14-19, 2020. 

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls.  The data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the 18+ population.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.



About Junior Achievement of Greater South Carolina

Since Junior Achievement of Greater South Carolina began operations in 1968 to serve Richland County, our service area and programs have grown to include 43 South Carolina counties. Last school year (2019-2020), our office served over 18,000 students during the Covid-19 Pandemic and served many educators through digital resources.  JA is positioned to continue to be the leader in K-12 educational partnerships across the state in the areas of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.