Siena College Research Institute releases new NYS coronavirus poll results

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LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) has released the results of a new poll revealing how New Yorkers feel about schools reopening for children during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a new statewide survey of residents, 62% of New Yorkers say completely reopening schools runs too great a risk of spreading the virus despite the difficulties on kids and families.

32 percent said we have to bring children back to school while mitigating the risks as best as possible. Meanwhile, 66-27% of New Yorkers reportedly think colleges should only deliver remote learning and not bring students back to campus for the fall semester.

According to the SCRI, just over half of state residents, 51%, down from 62% two months ago, think the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come while 34%, up from 27%, think the worst is over. Eighty-six percent are reportedly somewhat or very concerned that NYS will face another large outbreak of COVID-19 in the fall, and 80%, essentially unchanged from 78% in late June, are concerned that they or another member of their household will contract the virus.

When it comes to other activities, large majorities of New Yorkers are reportedly not comfortable with participating in five out of six of the following indoor activities:

  • 58% are not comfortable with dining indoors in a restaurant
  • 72% with having a drink at a bar
  • 70% with working out at a gym
  • 73% with watching a movie in a theater
  • 65% with going to a bowling alley

In contrast, 45% of people in NYS are reportedly more comfortable visiting a museum with 47% saying they are not.

When it comes to personal health, according to the SCRI poll, since the beginning of the pandemic, 42% of New Yorkers say they have gained weight while 32% have lost weight. Meanwhile, a majority, 51% say they have reconnected with old friends or distant family while 41% have developed a new hobby and 13% have adopted a new pet.

When it comes to schools reopening, there have been three general approaches taken for the fall semester with 46% in favor of keeping schools closed for now and providing remote learning as best as teachers can for all students. Thirty-three percent would reportedly prefer giving instruction using a hybrid model where only some students come in each day and many students receive instruction some or all day online whether in the school building or at home. Eighteen percent are reportedly calling for schools to fully reopen for in person learning 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, 1/3 of New Yorkers support a hybrid approach,” Levy said. “But even with the option of schools using a hybrid approach, 46% still support keeping the schools closed for now and providing remote instruction as best as teachers can to all students.

“As many colleges across New York reopen and bring students to campus with health safety protocols in place, 2/3 of all New Yorkers, 70% of women, 72% of those 18-34 years of age, 73% of Democrats and a majority, 53%, of Republicans say that colleges should only deliver remote education and not bring students back to campus,” Levy said.

Unchanged from two months ago, 70% reportedly say the government’s priority should be to contain the spread of the coronavirus, even if it hurts the economy while 23% say the priority should be to restart the economy, even if it increases the risk to public health. New Yorkers continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands after touching any surface, and wear masks as much as they can or completely at rates of at, or above, 90% according to the SCRI.

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