Amid COVID surge, school mask mandates supported by most parents: poll

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As schools return from summer break amid growing concerns of the highly contagious delta variant, most parents support school mask mandates.

The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor said 63 percent of parents of school-age children polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) said schools should mandate masks for unvaccinated students and staff in the building.

“Despite controversy around the country about masks in schools, most parents want their school to require masks of unvaccinated students and staff,” KFF president and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement. “At the same time, most parents don’t want their schools to require their kids get a COVID-19 vaccine despite their effectiveness in combatting COVID-19.”

In the poll released Wednesday, 58 percent of parents of 12- to 17-year-old children eligible for the COVID-19 shot were against schools mandating vaccinations for classrooms; 54 percent of parents of school-age children condemned a vaccine mandate, even if the Food and Drug Administration grants its full approval. 

The political divide was evident in poll results: 66 percent of Democratic parents backed vaccine requirements and 87 percent of Republican parents objected vaccines being mandatory.

Meanwhile, 88 percent of Democratic and 66 percent of independent parents supported masks in schools for unvaccinated children and staff and 69 percent of Republican parents opposed.

The poll measured 1,259 parents with children between July 15 and Aug. 2. 

Experts say the lifting of mask rules and other social distancing precautions, along with the rise of the delta variant, have contributed to the worrisome trend of COVID-19 in America. 

California will become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all pregnant women Wednesday to get the COVID-19 vaccine as hospitals in hot spots around the US see disturbing numbers of unvaccinated mothers-to-be seriously ill with the virus.

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