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Early results from ODU's Life in Hampton Roads survey show slight decrease in quality of life, struggles in public education

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Posted at 2:18 PM, Feb 05, 2022

NORFOLK, Va. - From cities to the countryside to the coast, life in Hampton Roads, Virginia contains a little bit of everything.

And for a dozen years, researchers from Old Dominion University have made it a point to meet people where they're at with the annual Life in Hampton Roads survey.

The university began releasing results from the latest edition in January.

ODU's Social Science Research Center (SSRC) tells News 3 it interviewed 796 people from all seven Hampton Roads cities between July and October of 2021.

The first section of survey released center on Quality of Life — finding 65 percent of respondents calling quality of life in the region "good" or "excellent." That number would go up or down from city to city, but overall is down a couple points from pre-COVID-19 surveys, said Tancy Vandecar-Burdin, Director of the SSRC.

"Reaching out and saying, 'Hey, tell us how it is?,' I think it's important to have that connection to the community," she told News 3.

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The second section, focusing on public education, was released last week. Among the questions to respondents with children was whether the COVID-1`9 pandemic affected their children's learning positively, negatively or not at all.

Vandecar-Burdin says 60 percent of participants said their children's education was either "a bit worse" or "much worse" than prior to the pandemic.

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"Over half of parents mentioned that their child had issues with socialization, not being able to spend time with friends," she said. "That's not surprising, but over half also said their child also had problems with concentrating or focusing. More than [one-third] said their child had increased stress or worry."

Still to come from the survey are chapters on Health Experiences with COVID and the Vaccine, Politics and Ethics in Government, Perceptions of the Economy, Perceptions of the Police, and Flooding and Hurricane Evacuation and Sheltering During COVID-19.

Results on questions regarding Health Experiences with COVID and the Vaccine will be released next, on Monday, February 7. Vandecar-Burdin says 75 percent of the people interviewed replied that they were vaccinated for COVID-19, but she tells News 3 one number in particular jumped out.

"One in five Hampton Roads residents that we heard from knew someone that died as a result of COVID," she said.

Real loss in the Hampton Roads community. Not for people who live far away, but for friends, family and neighbors.

Click HERE for more information about ODU's Life in Hampton Roads report.