More than 50% of adults support requiring masks and vaccines in schools

60% of parents wanted to know how many students and teachers have not been not vaccinated
By: | August 23, 2021
A majority of parents polled said their kids would feel safer in school if classmates and teachers were vaccinated.A majority of parents polled said their kids would feel safer in school if classmates and teachers were vaccinated.

Even before the FDA’s full approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine Monday, a majority of adults supported vaccine mandates for teachers and eligible students, according to a poll.

Nearly 60% of adults said all teachers should be vaccinated and 55% said the same should be required of students, though there were divisions along political lines in the survey released this weekend by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

About 60% of adults also said students and teachers should be required to wear face masks in school. However, fewer than 4 in 10 Republicans agreed, compared with more than 8 in 10 Democrats, the survey found.

Vaccinated adults, Black, Asian and older Americans, and those with a college degree are also more supportive of mask mandates, the survey found.

A majority of parents in another survey said their kids in middle and high school would feel safer if classmates and teachers were vaccinated.

About 60% of parents wanted to know how many students and teachers had not been not vaccinated but just 19% say that information would change their minds about sending kids to school, according to the national poll by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday expanded his K-12 vaccine mandate from all teachers to all district employees, which takes effect Sept. 27.

That’s about 148,000 employees, according to The New York Times. 

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“I expect staff members to get vaccinated,” NYC schools Chancellor Meisha Porter said during a press conference streamed on Twitter. “Our teachers have been our greatest heroes during this pandemic and showed up in so many ways.”

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said full approval of the Pfizer vaccine may encourage more people to get inoculated.

“While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” Woodcock said. “Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

Mask controversies continue

Sarasota County Schools on Friday became the latest Florida district to mandate masks despite threats of financial penalties by state officials. The districts in Alachua and Broward counties, which had stood by their mandates despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban, were officially put on notice Friday by the state’s board of education.

If leaders of the districts don’t obey the state, the Florida Department of Education will withhold funding equivalent to a portion of the salaries of school board members who approved the mask mandates.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced a statewide school mask mandate by executive order on Aug. 10. He rescinded his order on Aug. 23 due to a legal challenge even though mandates issued by the state’s education and public health departments remained in place, the Louisville-Courier Journal reported.

In Oregon earlier this month, Marc Thielman, the superintendent and principal of the Alsea School District, offered parents’ advice on the district’s website on how to use 504 plans to get around the state’s mask mandate.

“I want to apologize for the complexity and very poor timing of Governor Brown’s mandates,” Thielman wrote. “The Alsea School District recognizes the severity of the threat the delta COVID virus poses, and, as we proved last year, we will do everything possible to keep our students and staff safe while simultaneously respecting people’s rights.”

In Louisiana, Attorney General Jeff Landry has posted to his website letters parents can use to get out of that state’s school mask mandates.