Poll: Majority say teachers should be vaccinated before reopening schools

Poll: Majority say teachers should be vaccinated before reopening schools
© Getty Images

majority of adults, 59 percent, support waiting to reopen K-12 schools until all teachers who want a coronavirus vaccine have received a dose, according to a report from the Pew Research Center released on Wednesday.

Forty percent of respondents to Pew's surveyed questions were in favor of reopening as soon as possible regardless of whether or not teachers who want the vaccine have received it.

Eighty percent of Black adults, 69 percent of Hispanic adults and 72 percent of Asian American adults were in favor of waiting until teachers received vaccines, while results were more evenly split among whites with 51 percent in favor of waiting and 48 percent in favor of reopening as soon as possible.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pew noted that differences in opinion could also be seen along political party lines, with 79 percent of Democrats believing schools should wait for teachers to be vaccinated and 65 percent of Republicans saying schools should reopen regardless.

The report also indicated that more respondents are concerned than they were last year about the impact that the lack of in-person learning would have on students, rising to 61 percent of U.S. adults from 48 percent in 2020.

The percentage who feel that the risk of students and teachers contracting the coronavirus should be considered in reopening schools has fallen.

In July, 60 percent of adults felt the risk to teachers should be considered, falling to 48 percent this month. The drop among adults concerned for students was even larger, from 61 percent to 45 percent.

The Pew Research survey was conducted from Feb. 16 to 21 and surveyed 10,121 U.S. adults. The results had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.

Teachers groups have called for educators to be prioritized for vaccine administration, arguing that they are at a high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Government health officials such as newly sworn-in Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Indivior — Walensky gives green light for boosters Biden urges all eligible Americans to get a booster shot CDC director partially overrules panel, signs off on boosters MORE have said that it is not necessary for all teachers to be vaccinated before schools are reopened.

"I'm a strong advocate of teachers receiving their vaccinations, but we don't believe it's a prerequisite for reopening schools," Walensky said on "State of the Union" last week. "We have in the guidance clear language that specifies that teachers that are at higher risk ... teachers and students that are higher risk, and their families, should have options for virtual activities, virtual learning, virtual teaching."