Returning to normal: Should schools enforce vaccine requirements?

New polling data reveals the majority of parents no longer support vaccine requirements for students in K-12 schools.

The CDC officially released new COVID-19 guidelines last week, scrapping several K-12 safety measures.

“This latest guidance from the CDC should give our students, parents, and educators the confidence they need to head back to school this year with a sense of joy and optimism,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement. “While COVID continues to evolve, so has our understanding of the science and what it takes to return to school safely.”

The new guidance is a sign for many that people are ready to return to normal, especially in K-12 schools.

According to Burbio’s School Mask Policy Tracker, only 1.8% of districts have a mask mandate in place as of August 15.

The vast majority of states no longer require students to be vaccinated. Washington, D.C. is the only city with a student vaccination mandate in place, according to data from the National Academy for State Health Policy. And a new Gallup poll indicates more than half of parents are not in favor of vaccine requirements for students.

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Here are the key findings of that poll:

Percentage of parents in favor of vaccine requirements

  • For college students: 42%
  • For high school students: 41%
  • For middle school students: 39%
  • For elementary students: 38%

However, adults who don’t have children don’t share that opinion. More than half of the respondents in this category say they would like to see vaccination mandates in schools.

Percentage of non-parents in favor of vaccine requirements

  • For college students: 57%
  • For high school students: 56%
  • For middle school students: 54%
  • For elementary school students: 51%

Additionally, overall support for vaccine requirements has declined over the last year:

Americans in favor of vaccine requirements

For college students: 54% (9% decrease since 2021)

For high school students: 53% (7% decrease since 2021)

For middle school students: 51% (5% decrease since 2021)

For elementary school students: 48% (percent decrease unknown)

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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