New poll asks Utahns about school re-opening, mask mandate

Aug 5, 2020, 2:23 PM | Updated: Aug 11, 2020, 10:19 am
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Protest sign reading "Teachers and students deserve safe classrooms." (Photo: KSL-TV)
(Photo: KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY –Utahns have some mixed feelings about plans regarding the return to school this fall. 

Utahns split on the return to school

A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics Poll indicates that 54% of Utahns intend to have their children in school, in-person later this month. Around 23% say they’ll have them participate remotely via technology, while an even smaller percentage will teach their kids at home or admit they still don’t know what they’ll do.

Another component to fall school plans is Gov. Gary Herbert’s mask mandate, which will require all students, teachers and administrators to wear a face covering. The poll shows 62% agree with the decision, while 27% disagree and the remainder aren’t sure.

There seems to also be a political shift on the issue. It appears Democrats are far more inclined to agree with the governor’s school mask mandate than Republicans at 87% to 50%.

Parents, teachers speak out

Teacher Isaac Beh, a father of three, supports of the governor’s mask mandate. He calls it a no-brainer for general safety reasons.

“If it wasn’t mandatory, you’d have kids showing up whose parents tell them not to wear a mask,” he told the Deseret News. “I think there’s people out there who would send their kids to school with a cough.”

In fact, he thinks re-opening schools prior to a vaccine being readily available is a bit of a risk.

“There’s some stuff that can go down here and go really bad and go sideways really quick,” he explains.

Cathy Clark’s four children attend Barratt Elementary in American Fork. She’s ready for her kids to be in class, in-person on the first day of school.

“The online school was very, very hard for us, and my kids miss school,” she said. “They want to be at school, they want to be with their friends, they want to see their teachers.”

Independent pollster Scott Rasmussen conducted the survey of 1,000 Utah registered voters from July 27 to Aug. 1 for the Deseret News and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

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New poll asks Utahns about school re-opening, mask mandate