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Public opinion is hardening against reopening schools

The majority of parents believe it will not be safe to send their children back on 1 June.

By Patrick Maguire

A majority of parents of school-age children believe it will not be safe for schools to reopen on 1 June, new polling for the New Statesman has found.

Some 52 per cent of parents believe the planned reopening of schools for certain year groups of the beginning of next month will not be safe, as do 53 per cent of all voters.

An even larger number – 61 per cent – believe that it is right for schools to remain closed until September despite the negative impact of extended closures on disadvantaged children.

More than half of parents of school-age children – 55 per cent – also say they will send their children to school regardless of any safety concerns.

The results mark a hardening of opinion from Redfield and Wilton’s last NS poll, when 41 per cent said schools should close as planned for the summer holidays.

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The number of voters who believe teaching should take place over summer has also fallen. While 52 per cent backed the idea last month, only 39 per cent do so now.