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72% of Ontario parents worry another major COVID-19 outbreak will close schools: poll

SPENCER GALLICHAN-LOWE | posted Tuesday, Sep 1st, 2020

A new poll suggests that a majority of Ontario parents think despite preparations to get schools ready for reopening, the province will see another coronavirus outbreak — forcing schools to close down once again.

The poll, conducted by Maru/Blue Public Opinion Research North America in August, found 72 per cent of parents of school-aged children shared this view. This view was particularly strong among parents of elementary-school-aged children, at around 77 per cent. Around 66 per cent of parents of secondary-school-aged children said they felt this way.

Most schools in Ontario were closed by the province in March as COVID-19 took hold across the country. This forced students to learn from home using a variety of online systems.

“Such a sentiment suggests that while politicians and others have been focused on getting children back into the school setting, plans on how to exit those schools because of an outbreak is also top of mind among parents,” the polling firm said.

Parents want class sizes kept under 20 students

The poll also indicated a majority of Ontario parents — at around 70 per cent — wanted class sizes capped at 20 students or less so that their children can attend school.

Parents of elementary school students felt particularly strong about this, at around 72 per cent. Around 69 per cent secondary-school student parents thought this way as well.

The polling firm noted that the class size issue is a “make or break” situation for the parents polled.

The poll of 761 randomly selected Ontario parents of elementary and secondary school students was conducted from Aug. 14-17 and is considered accurate within plus or minus four per cent.

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