As students return to full-time in-person school, Newark-based non-profit Project Ready commissioned a poll of Newark parents and found widespread concern regarding Covid-19 and majority support for mandatory masks and vaccination in schools.

The Change Research poll, commissioned by Project Ready, found that 87% of Newark parents are worried about their child contracting COVID-19. Asked if they intended to send their child to school if only in-person learning is available, more than a quarter of parents said they either would not (10%) or were not sure (18%). Public health measures in schools garnered the support from a majority of parents, including mandatory masks for all students and mandatory vaccines for teachers and eligible students.

“These numbers reflect the widespread concern among Newark parents who want their kids going to school in an environment that is safe,” said Shennell McCloud, CEO of Project Ready. “It is urgent that our leaders listen to the community and take the necessary actions to keep our schools safe.”

Other key findings of the poll, which surveyed 301 parents of school-aged children in Newark from August 27 to September 7, 2021 and which has a margin of error of 5.66%, include:

Newark parents are worried about the risks of sending their children back to school in person, but are also concerned about the impacts of learning loss.

  • 87% of parents are worried about their child contracting COVID-19, including 62% who are veryworried.
  • 50% of parents feel uncomfortable with children returning to school in-person, while 49% feel comfortable.
  • 72% of parents say they plan to send their child back to school in-person full time this fall. 10% say they do not, and 18% say they are not sure.
  • A plurality (49%) of parents say that if remote-learning-only was an option for their child to start the school year, they would choose it. 30% say they would not, and 21% are unsure.
  • 79% of parents are worried about their child falling behind on learning due to COVID-19.
  • 80% of parents are worried about their child’s social and emotional health due to COVID-19.
  • Despite these concerns, 69% of parents think their child’s school has done either an excellent or good job to support their child’s learning during the pandemic. 63% also think their child’s school has done either an excellent or good job to support their child’s social well-being during the pandemic.

Newark parents support schools implementing public health measures.

  • 86% of parents support a mask mandate for students in schools, while 11% are opposed.
  • 68% of parents support a vaccine mandate for teachers, while 21% are opposed.
  • 54% of parents support a vaccine mandate for eligible students, while 37% are opposed. Support for a vaccine mandate for children is divided along gender, racial and age lines.
    • Among men, 63% support, 30% oppose. Among women, 48% support, 42% oppose
    • Among Hispanic parents, 64% support, 28% oppose. Among Black parents, 48% support. 43% oppose.
    • Among those 50-64, 69% support, 25% oppose. Among 18-34, 40% support, 44% oppose.

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