61% also believe that students falling behind academically should be a top consideration in school reopening
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued new guidelines detailing strategies for how schools can open safely during the coronavirus pandemic. The recommendations, which include wearing masks, physical distancing, handwashing, cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, increasing ventilation and contact tracing when someone in the school tests positive for the virus, offer some clarity about a contentious topic. However, a majority of people in the US say that teachers must get vaccinated before reopening schools.
This is according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, which reveals that 59% of Americans say K-12 schools that are not currently open for in-person instruction should wait to reopen until all teachers who want the Covid-19 vaccine have received it. About 40% suggest these schools should reopen as soon as possible, even if many teachers who want the vaccine have not received it. The results come close on the heels of a CDC analysis, which warns that teachers may play a central role in Covid-19 transmission in schools.
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In CDC’s advisory for reopening schools safely, vaccines are not among the ‘key’ strategies but are listed as ‘additional’ measures for Covid-19 prevention in schools. “In order to support safe school reopening, state, territorial, local, and tribal officials should consider giving high priority to teachers in early phases of vaccine distribution. Access to vaccination should nevertheless not be considered a condition for reopening schools for in-person instruction. Even after teachers and staff are vaccinated, schools need to continue mitigation measures for the foreseeable future, including requiring masks in schools and physical distancing,” recommends the agency.
The divide over the issue of vaccination, meanwhile, varies among racial and ethnic groups, according to Pew. An estimated 80% of Black, 69% of Hispanic and 72% of Asian (72%) adults believe that schools should not reopen until teachers get vaccinated. In comparison, 51% of White adults feel schools should wait until teachers receive the shot. “While two-thirds of lower-income adults and 57% of those with middle incomes say schools should wait to reopen, upper-income adults are more divided; 52% say schools should wait until all teachers receive the vaccine and 48% say schools should reopen as soon as possible,” write authors.
Americans are divided along political lines too, with 79% of Democrats saying schools should wait to reopen until all teachers who want the coronavirus vaccine have got. Brinkwire Brief News.