Dems and GOP Split over How Schools Should Reopen

While most Republicans would prefer that fall classes be in person, Democrats feel even more strongly that they should be remote. That finding comes from a recent poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of NPR. The poll surveyed 1,115 U.S. adults on July 30-31.

Overall, 66 percent of respondents said they'd choose remote school. However, while 87 percent of Dems sided with online education, just 41 percent of Republicans did. Among independents, 68 percent would choose remote education.

The same survey found that six in 10 Americans supported a "single, national strategy for when schools could reopen."

Teachers similar party division. A poll by NPR and Ipsos among 505 teachers conducted July 21-24 found that more than four in five (82 percent) were worried about returning to school in person. Two-thirds (66 percent) said their preference was to teach online. However, by party affiliation, the difference was dramatic; while 82 percent of teachers who are Democrats said they'd prefer remote learning, just 49 percent of teachers who are Republican chose that as their preference too.

The younger the teacher, the more likely she or he was to choose remote learning. While 58 percent of those 55 and older would choose distance learning, the share was 62 percent among teachers ages 35 to 54 and 74 percent among those 18 to 34.

Most teachers (84 percent) said they'd have difficulty enforcing physical distancing among students. At the same time, the researchers reported that 55 percent said they couldn't properly do their jobs online. Eighty-four percent expressed concerns that online learning created "gaps in opportunities" for students. And a similar share (83 percent) were concerned about making connections with students they've never met when online classes begin in the fall.

Additional results for both the teacher and general population surveys are openly available on the NPR website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.