2 in 3 parents support school mask mandates as pediatric cases surge

2 in 3 parents support school mask mandates as pediatric cases surge
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About 2 in 3 parents of children under the age of 18 say they support mask mandates for both teachers and students as pediatric cases have risen, according to a poll released Tuesday. 

The USA Today/Ipsos poll determined that 64 percent of parents back requiring teachers to wear masks in schools regardless of their vaccination status, and 62 percent approved of the same mandates for students. 

Among American adults, the support for mask mandates remains relatively the same, with 65 percent backing mask requirements for teachers and students.  

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The general adult population appears to be more supportive of mandating vaccines for teachers and school staff, with a 65 percent approval rate, compared to 56 percent among parents. Half of parents reported that they support requirements for eligible students to be vaccinated, compared to 59 percent of all American adults. 

The support for requiring eligible children to get vaccinated is split among partisan lines with 31 percent of Republican parents in favor of the requirements. Meanwhile, 70 percent of Democratic parents back such requirements. 

Despite parents’ concerns about COVID-19 spreading in schools, a majority, at 70 percent, say they want students and teachers to return to in-person school five days a week, after the virus sent many students to remote learning throughout the pandemic.

However, 81 percent of all parents and 74 percent of adults said parents should be able to make the decision on whether their children resume in-person instruction. 

The USA Today/Ipsos poll surveyed 2,010 American adults, including 427 parents, between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1. The margin of error was 2.5 percentage points. 

Pediatric cases have soared in recent weeks, with infections among children representing 22.4 percent of reported weekly COVID-19 cases for the week ending Aug. 26, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Throughout the entire pandemic, child cases have made up almost 15 percent of all cases.

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At the same time, pediatric hospitalizations have rapidly climbed over the past two months to hundreds of admissions per day as the highly transmissible delta variant spreads and overwhelms children's hospitals. 

At least 1,000 schools across 31 states have closed due to COVID-19 after classes returned for the fall, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, signifying the impact of the virus on the education system early in the school year.  

While a majority of adults and parents approve of mask mandates for teachers and children in schools, several states including Florida and Texas have banned mask requirements in schools, sparking court battles and defiance among districts.