The Southwest Booster

Vaxx to School? Threequart­ers of Canadian parents believe teachers, school staff should be vaccinated

- ANGUS REID INSTITUTE

Back to school was once a time of excitement, but as parents prepare for a third school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become a season of apprehensi­on.

As COVID-19 cases rise during Canada’s fourth wave, students across the country return to unvaccinat­ed classrooms as younger children are still ineligible for the vaccine. But new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds most parents of school-aged children – regardless of their kids’ ages – are comfortabl­e returning their kids to in-person learning. Three-quarters of parents with a child aged 12 to 17, and twothirds of parents with a child aged five to 11, say they are comfortabl­e putting their kids back in classrooms.

Still, parents want additional safeguards. Three-quarters (74 per cent) of parents with older kids, and fourin-five (81 per cent) parents with kids aged five to 11 (who are still ineligible for the vaccine), believe vaccines should be mandatory for school staff including teachers.

A majority of both groups of parents are worried about their children getting sick from COVID-19. Those with children ineligible for the vaccine are the most worried with one-third (34 per cent) of parents with a child aged five to 11 saying they are “very concerned” their children might get sick from the virus.

Even parents whose child is vaccinated fret about the virus. Three-in-five with a vaccinated child aged 12 to 17 say they are still worried about their children getting sick from COVID-19.

Despite all the concern, in-school learning is vastly preferred to online. Nine-in-10 (88 per cent) of both groups of parents prefer their children learn in-person rather than online.

More Key Findings:

- A majority of both groups of parents (65 per cent with a child aged 12 to 17; 64 per cent with a child aged five to 11) want to see vaccine mandates for students as well, though that won’t be possible for kids under 12 until a vaccine is made available to them.

- Regionally, a significan­t minority are not on board with masks or vaccines for students. One-third of people living in the Prairies and one-quarter of those in Quebec believe neither masks or vaccines should be mandatory for students.

The full poll can be viewed online at https://angusreid.org/covid-19-school-vaccine-mask/

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