Exclusive poll: New Yorkers split on whether students should return to school this academic year

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — On Monday, Governor Cuomo announced schools will be closed for another two weeks, extending closure until April 29. It was also announced that June Regents exams are cancelled.

As people across the state continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, News 8 teamed up with Emerson College to ask some questions about the crisis. According to the poll, people are split when it comes to the question of reopening schools at some point or keeping them closed for the rest of the school year.

Going into week four of distance learning, students, teachers, and staff alike are feeling the impact of this new normal. Thomas Putnam is the president of the Monroe County Superintendent’s Council.

“As an educator I really hope we get to come back. I know that every educator, anybody that works in the school system feels that way we miss our students greatly,” he said.

He’s not alone in wanting to go back to school. Across New York State, a combined 52.9 percent of people want to see students return to school at some point in the next few months. 47.2 percent think schools should stay closed for the rest of this school year.

Spencer Kimball is the director of Emerson College polling. He said while closing schools gained support quickly, the reopening is much more split.

“These are really long lasting impacts, these are people, these children are in school. What happens to the second grader, do they move to third grade, do they go back to first grade? Does the pre schooler get into the school system?” Kimball said.

The Monroe County numbers show even more people wanting students to return, with only 39.6 percent of people wanting schools to stay closed.

On the latest news about Regents exams being cancelled, Putnam tells students not to worry just yet.

“I can tell you now that graduation, anybody who’s waiting for a course, if it’s one Regents exam that they might need to graduate I would say there’s no need to be concerned. I know our state education department is going to make sure anything that’s put into place isn’t going to harm our students,” Putnam said.

He said there’s still a lot of unanswered questions about Regents exams and officials from the state education department said they’ll be giving more guidance to schools on how to deal with this on Tuesday.

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