Should schools reopen in the fall? Poll shows Vermonters are divided

Vermonters are divided over how quickly schools should reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll conducted in July by Vermont Public Radio/Vermont PBS.

Forty-seven percent of the roughly 600 people polled favored the reopening of K-12 schools, the survey found; 42% opposed that scenario.

As for allowing Vermont colleges and universities bring students back to campus, slightly more respondents opposed the notion: 50%, versus 44% in favor.

College classes in the state are scheduled to begin later this month, with elaborate plans in place for students to quarantine and be tested, and with restrictions on social gatherings, including meals.

Vermont’s public schools are planning to reopen Sept. 8 — many opting for a “hybrid” curriculum that alternates between online and in-person classes.

RELATED: Parents in Vermont seek alternatives to hybrid classrooms in the fall

A sign near Edmunds Middle School in Burlington on July 29, 2020.

More than half the respondents (56%) predicted the state, overall, will reopen too quickly, at the expense of its residents’ health.

Yet, a hefty majority of the polled Vermonters (83% of them) were in agreement with Gov. Phil Scott’s overall management of the pandemic.

About three-quarters told pollsters they supported a statewide mandate requiring face masks in public — a ruling that Scott announced July 24.

The survey, conducted for the state’s public broadcasters by Braun Research, also included questions on emotional health, government relief spending, policing and attitudes toward racial diversity. Find the full results here. 

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 802-660-1843 or joelbaird@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @VTgoingUp.

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