Trump has been adamant that schools need to reopen in the fall, for in-person education, rather than online instruction. He has even threatened to withhold federal funding from educational institutions that choose not to do so. Further, he's complained that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for re-opening are too expensive.
However, according to a poll conducted between July 11 and July 14 found that close to two-thirds of respondents -- 63 percent -- say that Trump shouldn't be angling so hard for schools to reopen. Only 25 percent say that he's right in advocating so hard to reopen schools, with the remainder of respondents undecided.
Those who took the survey were given an even more specific choice -- should the country's top priority be reopening schools in the fall, even if doing so increases the risk to public health, or should the top priority be limiting the spread of the coronavirus even if it means schools don't reopen in the fall. A full 77 percent chose the latter option, while 23 percent said that reopening educational institutions should be the top priority.
In fact, the notion of slowing the coronavirus in favor of delaying when students return to school has majority support among multiple groups across multiple political affiliations. Specifically, 95 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Independents, and 58 percent of Republicans believe that slowing the spread of the coronavirus is more important than putting kids back into school.
Politically speaking, the only group that supported putting students back in school consists of those who planned to vote for Donald Trump in November. Among that group, 51 percent support getting kids back to school in the fall, while 49 percent support prioritizing slowing the spread of the pandemic.
Similarly, a majority of parents of K-12 students (72 percent) said that reopening schools is less important than public health.
Asked about how schools in their own communities should handle educating children while the pandemic continues to rage, 42 percent favored online-only education, 41 percent favored a mix of online and in-person instruction, and only 15 percent said they wanted only the latter teaching model.
This is not to say that American parents aren't generally concerned about their kids falling behind in their studies while schools are closed. Indeed, the opposite appears to be true -- 70 percent are either "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about their children needing to catch up on their schoolwork during the pandemic. Further, 47 percent believe that children learn less through online learning than they do through in-person instruction.