As Arizona releases reopening guidelines for schools, voters want assurance that safety precautions will be taken according to a new poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights (OHPI). If schools were to reopen today, just 39% of voters would be comfortable having kids back in the classroom.
OHPI’s Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) – a monthly poll of Likely Arizona Voters – found that a majority (57%) of voters would feel uncomfortable sending their child back to school even if Arizona gave districts the green light to open.
There are several policies schools and districts could implement which would reassure voters when kids do return to school. Safety measures such as requiring schools to be cleaned at the end of each day, requiring masks, and mandatory temperature checks all increase voters’ comfort with the prospect of schools reopening.
“If schools opened their doors today, Arizonans would not be ready to send their children back,” said OHPI Chief of Research, Mike Noble. “However, schools implementing new safety precautions to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19 give most voters enough peace of mind to consider sending their kids back to class.”
Not only are voters more accepting of schools reopening with these protective measures in place, but parents of school-age children (i.e. those most directly affected by this debate) in each case are even more accepting. For instance, 7 in 10 parents of children under the age of 18 would feel comfortable if schools were cleaned at the end of each day.
If the measures listed in the above chart were implemented when schools do open again, voters’ concern decreases substantially. When originally asked, voters were uncomfortable with schools reopening by an 18-point margin (39% to 57%). However, if all the above preventative policies were enacted, that margin flips. Fifty-five percent of voters would feel comfortable while only 35 percent would not.
Similar trends are seen among voters who are parents. Initially, 45% of parents would be uncomfortable sending their children, but that number rises to 56% with safety measures put in place.
The poll also found voters disapprove of the way state leaders have managed COVID-19’s impact on the educational system. Less than 2 out of 5 (38%) voters are satisfied with the way public officials have handled the pandemic’s impact on Arizona’s schools. 44% are unsatisfied with their actions and 16% do not have an opinion one way or another.
Parents are even less pleased with the job that officials have done regarding COVID-19 and schools. 37% of parents of young children are satisfied with their performance, while nearly half (49%) are unsatisfied.
Methodology: This poll was conducted as a blended phone survey 37.2% Live Caller/ 62.9% IVR. The survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights from August 3rd to August 4th, 2020 from an Arizona 2020 Likely Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education level. The sample size was 603 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4.0%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding. Note: a change was made in the sample methodology of the AZPOP between June and July 2020 to better reflect the state of Arizona’s voter composition.