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Public opinions about school reopening

  • Public opinions about school reopening

    School districts face a difficult—perhaps impossible—task this year: to teach children while keeping them safe from COVID-19. Some districts are already back in session, be it in-person, virtual, or a hybrid style of learning. Many more start in September, with some districts still lacking definitive plans on how they’ll reopen. 

    Large school districts including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia, Houston, and Miami-Dade are starting the school year totally virtually. In Georgia, where some schools returned to in-person instruction in August, schools have reported new cases; a school where a student posted a photo of a packed hallway with few students wearing masks was one of them, which closed for two school days to clean the building. 

    While districts struggle to facilitate keeping students and staff safe in school buildings, virtual learning has drawbacks as well. Virtual learning depends on reliable internet and access to technology in the home, which millions of students lack. Children also get much of their social development while attending school and suffer from the isolation of staying home, a problem at the heart of the American Academy of Pediatrics urging schools to reopen in the fall.

    Parents must also weigh their own health and their professional obligations when deciding whether to return their children to school. Children account for a relatively small percentage of cases, and under 1% of the nation’s deaths. Children under 10 years old are less susceptible to infection and a majority of COVID-19 transmissions between children and adults occurred from adults to children, and not from children to adults. Young children in particular are less likely to be the source of infection in households where people test positive for COVID-19.

    While all these factors must be weighed, the key factor in children returning to school is whether their parents think it’s safe. Stacker compiled data from the “Perceptions of School Reopening Safety in the United States” report to look at how people all over the United States feel about K-12 schools reopening during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This report is part of a series of surveys called The State Of The Nation: A 50-State Covid-19 Survey

    Researchers from Northeastern University, Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University surveyed 19,058 individuals across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The data was released on Aug. 18. The survey was conducted online during July 10-26, 2020 and the results were weighed for race/ethnicity, age, and gender. COVID-19 case counts, death tolls, and testing counts for Aug. 23 come from the COVID-19 Tracking Project at The Atlantic, and are based on data from state public health departments.

    Overall, 63% of Americans don’t think it is safe for schools to reopen. Of that 63%, 26.5% answered it is “not very safe” and 37.1% answered that it is “not safe at all.” On the other side, 30.9% of Americans believe K-12 school reopening is safe, with 21.4% responding it is “somewhat safe” and only 9.5% responding it is “very safe” to reopen schools. South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming have the most respondents (respectively) who believe it's very safe to send students back to school. Washington D.C., Texas, and Georgia have the most respondents (respectively) who believe it's not safe at all to send students back to school.

    Read on to see how much residents in each state believe K-12 school reopening is safe, as well as their state’s COVID-19 cases, deaths, and stats from the past week. 

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  • Alabama

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 34.2%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 11.5%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 22.7%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 60.6%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 24.2%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 36.4%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 119,254 total cases (2,451.4 per 100,000 people, #6 highest among all states)
    - 2,045 total deaths (42.0 per 100k, #21 highest)
    - 943,685 total tests (19,398.7 per 100k, #29 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 22.8 per 100k (#5 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.30 per 100k (#13 highest)
    - New tests: 171.3 per 100k (#30 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 36.2% (#3 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • Alaska

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 36.5%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 7.8%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 28.7%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 55.1%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 26.4%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 28.7%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 5,719 total cases (774.4 per 100,000 people, #43 highest among all states)
    - 37 total deaths (5.0 per 100k, #50 highest)
    - 334,804 total tests (45,334.7 per 100k, #2 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 9.1 per 100k (#32 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.15 per 100k (#27 highest)
    - New tests: 463.4 per 100k (#2 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 3.1% (#40 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • Arizona

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 29.1%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 13.2%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 15.9%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 63.3%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 20.6%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 42.7%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 199,459 total cases (2,871.3 per 100,000 people, #3 highest among all states)
    - 4,896 total deaths (70.5 per 100k, #9 highest)
    - 1.2 million total tests (16,798.1 per 100k, #41 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 8.0 per 100k (#35 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.54 per 100k (#8 highest)
    - New tests: 114.5 per 100k (#46 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 7.4% (#28 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • Arkansas

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 34.6%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 10.9%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 23.7%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 60.1%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 29.0%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 31.1%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 58,023 total cases (1,940.1 per 100,000 people, #15 highest among all states)
    - 732 total deaths (24.5 per 100k, #33 highest)
    - 683,273 total tests (22,846.8 per 100k, #17 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 18.2 per 100k (#10 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.48 per 100k (#9 highest)
    - New tests: 200.6 per 100k (#22 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 33.3% (#5 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • California

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 27.1%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 8.0%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 19.1%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 69.0%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 25.3%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 43.7%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 679,099 total cases (1,734.7 per 100,000 people, #22 highest among all states)
    - 12,407 total deaths (31.7 per 100k, #28 highest)
    - 10.8 million total tests (27,670.8 per 100k, #11 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 14.7 per 100k (#22 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.32 per 100k (#12 highest)
    - New tests: 252.5 per 100k (#16 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 6.0% (#30 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

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  • Colorado

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 32.9%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 12.2%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 20.7%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 62.0%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 27.2%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 34.8%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 55,800 total cases (1,008.8 per 100,000 people, #41 highest among all states)
    - 1,826 total deaths (33.0 per 100k, #26 highest)
    - 955,641 total tests (17,277.5 per 100k, #39 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 5.6 per 100k (#42 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.10 per 100k (#41 highest)
    - New tests: 175.1 per 100k (#28 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 3.3% (#39 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • Connecticut

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 32.7%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 6.7%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 26.0%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 63.3%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 25.8%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 37.5%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 52,220 total cases (1,458.0 per 100,000 people, #26 highest among all states)
    - 4,463 total deaths (124.6 per 100k, #4 highest)
    - 1.1 million total tests (30,658.5 per 100k, #8 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 3.6 per 100k (#46 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.02 per 100k (#49 highest)
    - New tests: 381.4 per 100k (#6 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 0.7% (#49 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • Delaware

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 29.8%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 8.5%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 21.3%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 65.5%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 32.7%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 32.8%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 16,986 total cases (1,789.0 per 100,000 people, #19 highest among all states)
    - 604 total deaths (63.6 per 100k, #12 highest)
    - 227,095 total tests (23,917.5 per 100k, #15 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 5.2 per 100k (#43 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.14 per 100k (#29 highest)
    - New tests: 183.9 per 100k (#26 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 2.9% (#41 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • District of Columbia

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 22.0%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 8.2%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 13.8%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 73.4%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 23.6%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 49.8%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 13,722 total cases (2,004.7 per 100,000 people, #14 highest among all states)
    - 605 total deaths (88.4 per 100k, #7 highest)
    - 273,748 total tests (39,992.5 per 100k, #3 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 7.7 per 100k (#37 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.10 per 100k (#38 highest)
    - New tests: 461.0 per 100k (#3 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 1.8% (#44 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

  • Florida

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is safe: 28.6%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “very safe”: 11.0%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “somewhat safe”: 17.6%

    Residents who believe K-12 school reopening is not safe: 66.2%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not very safe”: 23.5%
    --- Residents who believe reopening is “not safe at all”: 42.7%

    Total state COVID-19 counts as of August 26:
    - 608,722 total cases (2,955.2 per 100,000 people, #2 highest among all states)
    - 10,872 total deaths (52.8 per 100k, #15 highest)
    - 4.5 million total tests (21,811.8 per 100k, #20 highest)

    Daily new counts over the past week (August 19 to August 26, seven-day averages):
    - New cases: 17.1 per 100k (#15 highest among all states)
    - New deaths: 0.56 per 100k (#7 highest)
    - New tests: 129.4 per 100k (#40 highest)
    - Test positive ratio: 13.2% (#15 highest, recommended ratio: under 10%)

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