85 percent of americans don’t think schools should reopen without more coronavirus testing, poll
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Most American adults do not think it is a good idea for school to resume before further coronavirus testing is available, according to a new poll published Wednesday. The results of the poll came as states across the country began reopening, and some began discussing when to reopen schools.
“Some of you might start to think about school openings,” Trump said during a conference call with Vice President Mike Pence and state leaders Monday, according to audio obtained by The New York Times. “I think it’s something, Mike, they can seriously consider and maybe get going on it.”
During a press briefing at the White House later that day, Trump added that “young people seem to do very well,” in comparison with others who contracted the virus and said “I think it would be a good thing” if schools reopened before the current academic year concluded.
Earlier this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom broached the idea of resuming classes in July, giving the next school year an early start after making the decision earlier this month to close campuses through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. Newsom was the first governor to announce statewide stay-at-home orders last month. By Wednesday, 46,500 cases and more than 1,800 deaths had been reported across the state since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In spite of discussions among leaders in both political parties on how soon to resume classes, the new poll conducted between April 21 and 26 by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist shows strong disapproval among all registered voters for reopening schools without further testing. Of the 1,008 adults polled, 94 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Independents said they thought doing so would be a bad idea.
While 84 percent of Democrats said they similarly felt employees should not return to work without further testing, the survey question received more support from others, with 51 percent of Republicans saying they supported a faster return to work and 65 percent of Independents saying they were against it.
When schools can reopen will also likely have a significant impact on when parents can return to the workforce, since so many American families rely on school and after-school programs for childcare. According to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 64 percent of married couples with children under the age of 18 said both parents were employed in 2019.
Though many schools impacted by state closures have launched virtual classrooms in lieu of in-person instruction, local leaders like Newsom have reiterated in recent days that students are losing out on their education—especially those who live in rural and urban communities without access to high-speed internet or other technology needed for distance learning. Discussions on when schools could reopen with precautions in place to ensure the safety of students, staff and others within the school communities would continue in the days ahead, Newsom said.
“Our kids have lost a lot with this disruption,” Newsom said during a news conference Tuesday. “If we can start up the school year a little earlier, that would help close that gap a little bit.”