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Poll: How Do Parents of School-Aged Children Feel About School Mask Mandates?

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Posted: Sep 07, 2021 12:15 PM
Poll: How Do Parents of School-Aged Children Feel About School Mask Mandates?

Source: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

As the school year kicks off across the country, mask mandates and vaccine mandates have been at the forefront of many debates as students return to in-person curriculum. Plenty of attention has been paid to states like Texas and Florida, where mask mandates in schools have been wiped statewide. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson even said he regrets approving a statewide ban on mask mandates. However, a new Axios/Momentive poll shows where parents stand regarding mask mandates and how much opposition there is across the country.

The poll, published on Tuesday, found that 59% of parents with school-aged children support mask mandates for students and staff in schools. More in depth, the general consensus was that parents' opinions on mask mandates in schools fell along partisan lines, with Democrats in support of mask mandates and Republicans against. In the poll, 85 percent of Democrats supported mask mandates for students and staff at schools, along with 32 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of registered Independents.

Contrary to the anti-mask mandates measures passed in heavily red states, the states where opposition to school mask mandates was the highest were Colorado (37 percent), Iowa (44 percent), Ohio (43 percent), and Minnesota (38 percent). A mere 10 percent of respondents said they support mask mandates solely for students and staff who are unvaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus.

Furthermore, the poll found a gender divide in respondents between fathers and mothers. Mothers supported school mask mandates more than fathers, with mothers at 66 percent in support and fathers at 50 percent. Fathers, more than mothers, opposed all mask mandates, with fathers at 36 percent and mothers at 24 percent. 

Predictably, two-thirds of people in the United States, 64 percent, say they are afraid of a surge in coronavirus cases in their area due to back-to-school season. The poll found that 66 percent of respondents who are parents of school-age children are concerned that such a surge could occur. Democrats, overwhelmingly, displayed concern over this, with 88 percent in the poll saying so. Forty-one percent of Republicans feel this way. Again, the poll saw a gender divide, with 71 percent of women expressing concern over a school-related coronavirus surge, while 56 percent of men showed concern.

Out of all the respondents, more than half, 61 percent, say that their child's school district is requiring masks this upcoming year. Twenty-eight percent of respondents say their school district is not requiring masks; the remaining 11 percent said they do not yet know what their school district's mask protocol will be. 

Since the start of school in certain parts of the country, students have already been subject to quarantine as they have tested positive for coronavirus. Some colleges and universities have even required students, regardless of vaccination status, to double-mask on campus. While some school-aged children are too young to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it will be interesting to see what policies school districts will implement to continue to combat the spread. 

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