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Siena poll: majority thinks schools completely reopening is too risky

Of the 745 New Yorkers polled, 62% said completely opening schools is too risky, 32% think it would be fine if precautions are in place.

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — A new Siena College poll was released Wednesday that showed that a majority of New Yorkers think fully reopening schools is far too risky due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The poll showed that 62% of respondents think that fully reopening schools runs too big of a risk to spread coronavirus, despite how hard it's been on families.  When asked about colleges and universities, even more respondents, 66%, said they should only offer remote education, keeping all students off-campus this fall. 

“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.” 

When given the option of a hybrid model, 33% said they favor having a select number of students return to schools on specific days. Just 18% said they favor in-person education with precautions in place and 46% said they would keep schools closed, having online-exclusive learning for the time being. 

The poll also showed that just over half, 51%, of New York residents think the worst of the pandemic is still in the future. That's down from 62% when polled two months ago. 

Many New Yorkers said they are still uncomfortable participating in indoor activities. More than half, 58%, said they're uncomfortable at an indoor restaurant, 70% were uncomfortable at a gym, and 73% going to a movie theater. However, people do seem more willing to visit a museum, with 45% of people saying they're fine with it, as opposed to 47% who are still wary of it. 

The poll of 745 New York State residents took place from August 20-27. To view all the data from the poll, click here.

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