Speed Reads

the great mask debate

A majority of parents support school-wide mask mandates as skepticism toward online learning grows

Eager to ditch distance learning, a "strong majority" of parents with school-aged children said they support mask mandates for students and teachers, especially given "the surge in pediatric COVID cases," USA Today reports, per a new USA Today/Ipsos poll.

More specifically, 2 in 3 parents are in favor of enforced school-wide mask wearing, with optimism toward online learning having found itself on the decline, USA Today writes. Parents are more skeptical of the system than they were before, and their confidence in the work districts did to "adequately [prepare] students for remote instruction" reportedly dropped 15 percent from last May, now down to just about half.

Moms and dads are also less confident that their child will be able to make up any of the ground lost to online learning, USA Today finds, with a majority believing it did in fact cause their child or children to fall behind.

Despite the push to return to the classroom, however, most parents do agree that masks should be required, with parents of color among the strongest supporters on the matter. "Being together and wearing masks is better than the isolation of everyone being home," said Sivya Leventhal, a mother of two from Dallas, Texas. 

USA Today and Ipsos surveyed 2,010 adults from Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2021. Results have a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points. See more results at USA Today.