New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made headlines by announcing the largest public school district in the country would be open for in-person instruction only this fall. The Los Angeles Unified School District will also open at full capacity but will continue to offer a remote option. Reopening schools at full capacity is a step most Americans – and more importantly, most parents – in the latest Economist/YouGov poll want to take.
Whatever their partisan identification, two-thirds of the American public (66%) and three in five parents with K-12 students (62%) agree that schools need to be open at full capacity this fall.
A majority of Democrats (59%) and Democrat parents (58%) approve of full-capacity reopening for schools, something that is even more popular among Republicans (81%) and Republican parents (76%).
Additionally, three in five parents of students in large cities (62%) – like New York – believe schools should be open at full capacity this fall.
But many believe that the schools need to be reopened with some limits. Most Americans (54%) and K-12 parents (59%) would permit K-12 schools to require masks. While most GOP parents would not want masks required, Republican parents (40%) are 18-points more willing than Republicans without children in K-12 schools (22%) to support mask requirements.
Three-quarters of Democrats (78%) and Democrat parents (76%) think K-12 schools should be allowed to require mask-wearing.
There is similar support among Americans overall (55%) for requiring masks in colleges and universities.
Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between May 22 - 25, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.9% for the overall sample.
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