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COVID-19: Here's How Many NYers Say Reopening Schools, Colleges Is Too Risky, New Poll Reveals

A strong majority of New Yorkers say completely opening schools runs too great a risk of spreading COVID-19 despite how hard not opening is on kids and families, according to a brand-new poll.
A strong majority of New Yorkers say completely opening schools runs too great a risk of spreading COVID-19 despite how hard not opening is on kids and families, according to a brand-new poll. Photo Credit: Pixabay

A strong majority of New Yorkers say completely opening schools runs too great a risk of spreading COVID-19 despite how hard not opening is on kids and families, according to a brand-new poll.

The Siena College Research Institute statewide poll was conducted Thursday, Aug. 20 through Thursday, April 27 by random telephone calls to 343 adults via landline and cell phones and 402 responses drawn from a proprietary panel of New Yorkers.

A total of 32 percent agreed that "we have to bring the children back to school and do our best to mitigate the risks."

By an even wider margin, New Yorkers surveyed said colleges should only deliver remote education for the fall semester and not bring students back to campus, 66 to 27 percent.

Here's how those surveyed view three general approaches to reopening schools:

  • 46 percent are in favor of keeping schools closed for now and providing remote instruction as best as teachers can to all students, 
  • 33 percent prefer providing instruction using a hybrid model where only some students come in each day and many students receive instruction some or all day online whether in the school building or at home.
  • 18 percent call to open schools for in-person instruction for all students with precautions like social distancing and masks in place.

“As schools across New York grapple with whether to or how to open in the fall, by nearly two to one, New Yorkers say completely opening schools runs too great a risk,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy. “Despite recognizing how hard not opening is on kids and their families, only a third say that the negative effect on students is too great and that we have to bring the children back to school.”

“Offered a middle ground, the hybrid model in which only some students come in each day, class size is limited and online instruction is part of the education process, one-third of New Yorkers support a hybrid approach. 

“But even with the option of schools using a hybrid approach, 46 percent still support keeping the schools closed for now and providing remote instruction as best as teachers can to all students.”

“As many colleges across New York reopen and bring students to campus with health safety protocols in place, two-thirds of all New Yorkers, 70 percent of women, 72 percent of those 18-34 years of age, 73 percent of Democrats and a majority, 53 percent, of Republicans say that colleges should only deliver remote education and not bring students back to campus,” Levy said.

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