More Americans Now Say Academic Concerns Should Be a Top Factor in Deciding to Reopen K-12 Schools

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Amid new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to safely reopen K-12 schools for in-person instruction, Americans are increasingly concerned about the effect of virtual learning on academic progress.

Compared with last summer, a higher share of U.S. adults now say the possibility that students will fall behind academically without in-person instruction should be given a lot of consideration as schools decide whether to reopen. And smaller shares now say the health risk to teachers or students should be given a lot of consideration, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

At the same time, a majority of U.S. adults (59 percent) say K-12 schools that are not currently open for in-person instruction should wait to reopen until all teachers who want the coronavirus vaccine have received it. By comparison, 40 percent say these schools should reopen as soon as possible, even if many teachers who want the vaccine haven’t received it.

Views about the factors that should be considered in reopening schools as well as the timing don’t vary significantly between those who have children enrolled in elementary, middle or high school and those who don’t.