Most Americans do not believe it is safe for K-12 students to return to in-person classes this fall, found an ongoing national survey conducted by The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States. The consortium is comprised of researchers from four universities: Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern and Rutgers.
According to the survey, only 31% of respondents felt returning to school was safe, with 10% saying it was “very safe” and 21% saying it was “somewhat safe.” Attitudes notably varied by gender, race, class and political identity. Women and non-White respondents were both less likely to consider returning to school as very or somewhat safe. Additionally, both wealthy and Republican-identifying respondents were more likely to consider returning to school safe.
“Clearly, Americans are concerned. That those with lower incomes exhibit less confidence may track resource differences between schools that are needed to return safely,” said Dr. James Druckman, the Payson S. Wild Professor of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern and associate director of the University’s Institute for Policy Research.