Investigation shows sharp political and racial divisions over Michigan Advance school mask mandates

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Parents in Michigan are divided over whether or not students should be required to get vaccinated or wear a mask this school year, according to a study by the Michigan’s K-12 Alliance, a Lansing-based advocacy group.

The to study, conducted by the Glengariff group between August 24 and 26, interviewed 600 parents in the state.

About 39% of parents surveyed strongly support the requirement to wear masks while nearly 37% strongly oppose a mask mandate in schools, with large racial and political divisions.

A majority of Michigan students attend a school district with a mask warrant in place, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). At least a dozen county health services, including some of the state’s most populous counties, have implemented a mask mandate for school districts.

Education officials have demand state officials to impose a statewide mask mandate, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has done in previous years. But his administration is looking for local school districts to take care of it this school year.

“There are no plans for statewide mask orders, including for schools, at this time,” DHHS spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said. Advance by e-mail Thursday. “Director [Elizabeth] Hertel continues to monitor case rates, hospitalizations and vaccination rates to help guide its decisions. “

Survey results vary depending on political leanings, race and location in the state. Republican, white, and rural parents largely oppose mask mandates.

About 78% of Republican parents opposed a mask mandate and about 18% supported it. Most Democratic parents surveyed, 87%, support a mask mandate and 10% oppose it.

For white parents, 41% support a mask mandate and 53% oppose it.

While a strong majority of black parents – 94% – support a mask mandate.

As for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, a majority of parents oppose a mandate, especially unvaccinated parents. About 58% of parents oppose the requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations for students and 37% of parents support it. For parents who are not considering getting the vaccine themselves, only 3% would support their child to get the vaccine.

Michigan currently requires several vaccinations for entry to school – against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, meningitis and chickenpox – although parents can request personal exemptions.

Children under 12 are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The syringes are prepared with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before they are administered at the Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Va. On February 2, 2021. | Parker Michels-Boyce / For the Virginia Mercury

Student performance during COVID-19

The survey also asked parents if they felt their student had fallen behind in school during the pandemic and if they felt schools had supported students this past school year.

When asked if their children have fallen behind academically, 49% said their children have fallen behind because of the pandemic and 50% said their children are on track or ahead. .

Among Detroit public school parents, Trump’s Republican parents, and unvaccinated parents, most believe their child has fallen behind academically – 63%, 60%, and 62% respectively.

A quarter of parents surveyed believe their school did not support their child during last school’s pandemic, with the highest rates of disapproval coming from Republicans, rural parents and unvaccinated parents.

Parents want increased funding for schools

Regardless of the demographics, most parents want more funding for their local school districts.

“It will take a lot of effort for our schools to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic and the the critically important programs we are implementing this year can only stay in place if Michigan takes the necessary steps to rethink our funding formula and continue to invest once again in the needs of our students, ” said Erik Edoff, vice president of the K-12 Alliance of Michigan and director of L’Anse Creuse public schools. “It’s gratifying to know that our parents also believe in the importance of this.

The state made a historic investment of more than $ 4 billion in K-12 districts for fiscal year (FY) 2021, fully funded by federal emergency assistance for elementary schools and secondary (ESSER). Former President Donald Trump passed $ 841 million in ESSER II funding in December and $ 3.3 billion came from ESSER III funding for President Joe Biden’s US bailout in March.

This additional funding is for fiscal year 2021, which ends at the end of the month. But the Senate has passed a $ 17 billion school aid budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins Oct. 1.

A minimum of 60% of each demographic are in favor of extending the temporary increase to a permanent increase, and nearly 79% of all parents surveyed agree.

When asked how tpipe dollars should be spent, nearly 25% of parents chose more individualized tutoring for students, while just over 20% chose more options for skilled trades training and 18.5% would like to see more nurses and counselors to improve the mental and physical health of students.

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