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Poll: 46% think school reopenings coming too slowly

Results split heavily along party lines

By Nikita Biryukov, March 03 2021 10:49 am

Almost half of New Jerseyans believe the state is moving too slowly to reopen schools to in-person education, a Change Research poll released Wednesday found.

About 46% of voters polled said the return to in-person schooling wasn’t moving fast enough, while only 19% said it was moving too quickly. Another 22% said it was moving at the right pace, and 13% said they were unsure.

Republicans, 86%, were far more likely to say school reopenings were moving too slowly than their Democrat, 15%, or independent, 44%, counterparts. Roughly a third of Democrats said the state was reopening schools too quickly, and 34% said reopenings were being made at the right pace.

Among independents, the larges share believed schools should be opened quickly, but 15% said the state needed to slow down, and 22% said the pace was fine.

More than seven in 10 respondents, 71%, said there were no school-aged children in their households.

Support for in-person schooling was similar among parents. About four-in-ten, 41%, said they would send their children to in-person schooling if it was available, and 21% said they had already done so. Another 15% said they would likely keep to virtual classes, and 17% said they definitely would.

The split on in-person classes was stark along racial lines. Black parents, 67%, were more than twice as likely to say they’d probably or definitely keep their children learning remotely than were white parents, 23%.

“As a Black parent myself, these results are deeply troubling,” said Shennell McCloud, executive director of Project Ready, which commissioned the poll. “Not because parents are doing anything wrong by choosing what they believe to be the safest option for their families, but because as a society, we have let families down by not creating the conditions for Black parents to feel comfortable sending their children back into school buildings.”

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