Two new polls show the public much more skeptical about reopening schools than President Trump.
Only 8 percent of Americans say schools should open as usual for in-person instruction, the position of the incredibly obtuse Orange County School Board. Far more (77%) believe they should either not reopen (31%) or only with major adjustments (46%). Opinion reflects the 80 percent of the public who are very concerned that reopening schools will cause a major surge in the virus. Even 63 percent of Republicans register the same level of concern (AP/NORC poll).
When given a choice in a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll between reopening schools now to get people back to work and children in classrooms or wait until the virus contagion is low as possible, safety over back to work carried the day 63 percent to 32 percent.
Trump’s position, which is framed on the needs of the economy with little or no emphasis on safety, is shared by only about a fifth of the public, although about half of Republicans. A third of the public doesn’t want to reopen and presently prefers remote learning, but the majority position supports reopening with safety conditions, like masks and social distancing, along with remote learning options where needed or preferred by parents.