Poll shows voters still worried by in-person learning

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – With the fall semester on the horizon, a majority of Massachusetts voters believe that colleges and universities should not yet offer in-person classes with the COVID-19 pandemic still posing a threat, according to a new poll.

Sixty-two percent of likely voters in an Emerson College/WHDH poll published Friday said Bay State institutes of higher education should not reopen with face-to-face instruction, compared to only 38 percent who support a return to in-person classes. Colleges and universities across the state are all embracing varying approaches to the fall semester.

The four UMass campuses are planning to hold many classes, while private schools such as Harvard University will offer all-online classes with limited capacity in on-campus housing.

Several universities, including Boston University and Northeastern University, are still aiming to bring significant numbers of students back to campus under models with some online instruction.

Previous polls have also shown significant concerns among Massachusetts voters about K-12 schools, and the latest Emerson/WHDH survey found its respondents split. A 44 percent plurality of likely voters said a hybrid model combining some in-person instruction and some online instruction is most appropriate for K-12 students.

Thirty-six person said fully remote learning would be the best option, while only 19 percent backed entirely in-person classes.

The Emerson/WHDH poll was conducted from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27 with a credibility interval of 3.6 percentage points.

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