Sixty-two percent of New Yorkers say completely opening schools runs too great a risk of spreading the disease despite how hard not opening is on kids and families, according to a new statewide survey of residents released today by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). Thirty-two percent say that we have to bring the children back to school and do our best to mitigate the risks. By 66-27 percent, New Yorkers say colleges should only deliver remote education and not bring students back to campus for the fall semester.
Just over half of state residents, 51 percent, down from 62 percent two months ago, think the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come while 34 percent, up from 27 percent, think the worst is over. Eighty-six
percent are somewhat or very concerned that New York will face another large outbreak of COVID-19 in the
fall, and 80 percent, virtually unchanged from 78 percent in late June, are concerned that they or another
member of their household will get sick with the virus.
As New York continues to reopen, large majorities are NOT comfortable with participating in 5 of 6 indoor
activities. Fifty-eight percent are not comfortable with dining indoors in a restaurant, 72 percent with having a
drink at a bar, 70 percent with working out at a gym, 73 percent with watching a movie at a theater and 65
percent with going to a bowling alley. New Yorkers are more comfortable with visiting a museum with 45
percent saying they are comfortable and 47 percent saying that they are not.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 42 percent say that they have gained weight while 32 percent have lost
weight. A majority, 51 percent, have reconnected with old friends or distant family, 41 percent have
developed a new hobby and 13 percent have adopted a pet.
Given three general approaches to public schools in the fall, 46 percent are in favor of keeping schools closed
for now and providing remote instruction as best as teachers can to all students. 33 percent prefer providing
instruction using a hybrid model — where only some students come in each day and many students receive
instruction some or all day online. And 18 percent call to open
schools for in person instruction for all students with precautions like social distancing and masks in place.
“As schools across New York grapple with whether to or how to open in the fall, by nearly two to one, New
Yorkers say completely opening schools runs too great a risk,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy.
“Despite recognizing how hard not opening is on kids and their families, only a third say that the negative
effect on students is too great and that we have to bring the children back to school.”
“Offered a middle ground, the hybrid model in which only some students come in each day, class size is
limited and online instruction is part of the education process, one-third of New Yorkers support a hybrid
approach,” Levy said. “But even with the option of schools using a hybrid approach, 46 percent still support
keeping the schonyols closed for now and providing remote instruction as best as teachers can to all students.”
Almanack file photo: Middle school students at HT Wiley Intermediate School in Watertown