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Nearly half of parents polled 'very worried' kids will get COVID-19 at school

More than half of American parents say they are at least somewhat concerned about their child contracting COVID-19 at school or in child care facilities, according to a new Gallup poll released Thursday. 

Forty-five percent of parents surveyed said they are “very worried” about their child contracting the coronavirus at either site, and another 27 percent said they were “somewhat worried.” Thirteen percent of parents said they are “not too worried,” and 9 percent said they are “not at all worried.” 

Fifty-one percent of parents said “cleanliness and sanitation procedures of school” will have a major impact on their feelings about sending their children to full-time in-person school, with 47 percent saying “requirements for daily health screenings of students, teachers and staff” and 46 percent saying “requirements for students, teachers and staff to wear masks at school” also have major impacts. 

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Of parents who say they are “very worried,” more than 60 percent say daily health screenings, classroom sanitation, class sizes and mask requirements would have major impacts on the way they feel about their child going to in-person classes.

The poll comes as school districts across the country grapple with how best to transition to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic amid concerns schools can lead to spikes in infections should students begin spreading COVID-19.

For instance, Boston Public Schools on Wednesday was forced to delay its reopening plan after the city’s coronavirus positivity rate spiked beyond 4 percent.

“Full economic recovery will remain out of reach until schools can safely instruct students in person, as parents have to be able to participate fully in the economy  as consumers and as employees,” Gallup concluded. “Yet in-person instruction is unlikely to succeed if schools cannot implement required safety protocols that scientists report are necessary to slow the virus' spread.”

The Gallup poll surveyed 5,017 adults Sept. 4-13 and was weighted to represent the entire U.S. adult population. The poll was conducted via web surveys from an opt-in sample provided by Dynata and was also weighted to correct for nonresponse.