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Poll: Less than half of voters say Michigan's schools should reopen before October

A new statewide poll shows less than half of voters say Michigan’s schools should reopen before October
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A recent EPIC-MEA statewide poll shows less than half of likely Michigan voters say school buildings should reopen before October. 

Most of those participating in the poll were either unsure, think schools should open later or only after a vaccine or effective treatment is available. 

The poll by the Michigan Education Association echoes safety concerns expressed in a landmark statewide survey of Michigan’s front-line educators about safely reopening our school buildings.

“EPIC-MEA’s poll shows the general public shares many of the same concerns expressed by our dedicated public school educators in recent survey responses from over 15,000 teachers, support staff and other public school employees,” said Paula Herbart, MEA president and member of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Return to School Advisory Council. “The bottom-line is both the general public and Michigan’s public school educators want assurances our schools will reopen based on the best public health policy and a game plan that protects the safety of students, families and educators.”

RELATED: Whitmer creates group tasked with helping schools safely reopen this fall

The EPIC-MEA poll of 600 likely voters across Michigan was conducted May 30 through June 3. Those participating in the survey were asked, “Based on what you know or have heard or read about the COVID-19 health crisis in Michigan, and the progress made thus far in addressing it, when do you think schools should reopen in Michigan?”:

Of those responding:

  • 46% said August or September
  • 24% said once there are effective medicines to effectively treat COVID-19 or a vaccine is available 
  • 18% said either October or November (13%) or next year (5%)
  • 12% were undecided  

The MEA’s survey, conducted May 14-22, gathered educators’ views on COVID-19’s impact on public education, including the health and safety concerns front of mind for educators as discussions about reopening schools continue.

Key findings of the MEA survey include:

  • 91% think smaller class sizes will be necessary to enforce social distancing.
  • 89% believe standards need to be set and enforced regarding future outbreaks of illness and required closure of buildings.
  • 88% agreed it was important schools were closed to help prevent the spread of the disease.
  • 87% are concerned about health risks to students, students’ families and fellow employees in reopening schools.
  • 74% believe schools should provide and require usage of masks and other personal protective equipment for employees.

View the full MEA survey here.

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