Majority of New York Voters Think Schools Will Reopen in the Fall: Poll

May 27, 2020 Updated: May 27, 2020

Nearly two-thirds of New York voters think it is likely that schools will reopen in September, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The poll, conducted by Siena College Research Institute found that among 796 New York State registered voters 75 percent of respondents said they expect that there will be another major outbreak of COVID-19 in the fall, yet 64 percent said they believe that schools will open at the time.

When it comes to a trade-off between measures to deal with the pandemic’s impact on public health and the economic well-being in the state, the New York voters’ views differed along the party line. Respondents who are Democrats overwhelmingly see a bigger danger for the state in moving too quickly to reopen, which would make the outbreak worse and cost more lives. The Republicans, by contrast, have a greater concern in moving too slowly to loosen the state’s stay-at-home orders, which would further deteriorate the economy, with more jobs lost.

In other findings, over 90 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans say they wear a protective mask always or most of the time when in public, while more than two-thirds of voters say they’ve encountered someone in the last week not wearing a mask when they should have been.

The poll comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will issue guidelines in June so schools can start to plan for the fall semester. Cuomo ordered New York schools to close in mid-March at the start of the pandemic, and extended the closure for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

“We will issue guidelines in the beginning of June on what schools would need to do to come up with a plan to prepare to open,” Cuomo said last week at a press briefing. “The schools will do those plans and provide them to the state in July. The state will approve those plans or not approve those plans in July all in preparation for an opening in September.”

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said almost 178,000 students are expected to take online summer classes to make up for lost learning hours due to school closures. Those students account for nearly 18 percent of the city’s overall enrollment.

“Any summer, there’s the possibility of learning loss over the summer—that could be a greater challenge in a summer like this,” de Blasio said. “It’s going to be a huge effort, an unprecedented effort.”