Poll: Most Hillsborough voters don’t want kids to return to schools yet
Partents are protesting both sides of the coronavirus issue. Some say return to school; others say no.

Democrats are more likely to oppose schools reopening than Republicans.

A majority of Hillsborough County voters don’t think it’s safe to send kids back to school in-person Aug. 24 and even more believe students should return to e-learning until COVID-19 is under control.

A St. Pete Polls survey found 57% of voters polled don’t feel it’s safe for children to return to school in-person yet with only 33% believing it is safe; 10% were unsure.

The disparity is even larger among respondents asked whether they think students should stay home and participate in e-learning until COVID-19 numbers improve. More than 60% of respondents said they should stay home while less than 32% said they should not. Only 8% were unsure.

The difference in support for kids using e-learning compared to whether respondents think school is safe appears to come down to the number of unsure respondents, which indicates some would rather err on the side of caution than send kids into a potentially dangerous situation.

The Hillsborough County School Board voted 5-2 Wednesday to postpone in-person learning four weeks, using e-learning to return to school instead. The board will revisit the issue again in early September.

However, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran followed that vote with a letter Friday saying the decision violates his executive order requiring schools to reopen.

That makes the poll useful in showing a majority of Hillsborough County voters likely support the School Board’s decision, which could affect how the district responds to Corcoran’s letter.

The poll was conducted among 1,232 likely voters and has a margin of error of 2.8%.

Of those polled, 40% said they had already voted in the upcoming primary elections. More than 34% said they plan to vote in person and 26% plan to vote by mail.

Reopening schools has become one of this election cycle’s hottest political issues with Democrats typically favoring a more cautious approach and returning to digital learning.

Of those polled, only 13% of Democratic respondents said they thought it was safe for kids to return to school with 81% saying it wasn’t. Conversely, 55% of Republicans said it was safe while only 32% said it wasn’t.

On the question of returning to school, 82% of Democrats said kids should stay home to learn while only 37% of Republicans said the same. Meanwhile, 53% of Republicans said kids should return to brick and mortar schools while only 13% of Democrats said the same.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].

One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 8, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Hillsborough do what you have always done with the schools! The best for students employees and community! Cockroach Corcoran is an idiot that prevented medicade expansion… leaving hundreds without health insurance! Now cockroach Corcoran is trying to put our children in harms way! Stfu cockroach Corcoran !

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