Nearly Half of Parents Say Students Should Be Vaccinated Before Returning to School: Poll

Nearly 50 percent of parents in the U.S. say that students should be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to school, according to a new poll.

The poll, which was conducted by Morning Consult, found 48 percent of parents saying they agree that a COVID-19 vaccine should be required for students before the start of the school year.

Additionally, the poll found that more than half of parents, 60 percent, say that teachers should receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to school.

However, according to the poll, 42 percent of parents said that they will not send their child to school if a vaccine is required.

The poll surveyed 507 parents from August 6 to August 9 and reported a 4-point margin of error.

The polls' findings come amid differing arguments over support and opposition for vaccine requirements in schools.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced earlier this week that all school staff members are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or they will have to get tested for the novel virus at least once a week.

"To give parents confidence that their children are safe as schools return to full, in-person learning, we are urging all school staff to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic," Newsom said in a statement. "As a father, I look forward to the start of the school year and seeing all California kids back in the classroom."

The California Teacher's Association said they supported Newsom's recommendation and President E. Toby Boyd said in a statement that "Educators want to be in classrooms with their students, and the best way to make sure that happens is for everyone who is medically eligible to be vaccinated, with robust testing and multi-tiered safety measures."

In addition to California, two of the nation's largest teachers' unions have come out in support of vaccine requirements.

In a statement issued on Thursday, National Education Association President Becky Pringle said "As we enter a new school year amidst a rapidly spreading Delta variant and lagging public vaccination rates, it is clear that the vaccination of those eligible is one of the most effective ways to keep schools safe, and they must be coupled with other proven mitigation strategies."

The statement continued, "We also support regular COVID-19 testing in lieu of vaccination for those not yet vaccinated or those for whom vaccination is not medically appropriate or effective. We believe that such vaccine requirements and accommodations are an appropriate, responsible, and necessary step to ensure the safety of our school communities and to protect our students."

During an interview with NBC News' Meet the Press last week, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which is the second-largest teachers' union in the nation, said that COVID-19 vaccines should be required for teachers, in order to keep students that are too young to be inoculated, protected from the novel virus.

"As a matter of personal conscience, we need to be working with our employers—not opposing them—on vaccine mandates," Weingarten said. "It's not a new thing to have immunizations in schools."

A recent report from the White House found that 90 percent of all educators and school staff across the nation are vaccinated against COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine
Nearly half of parents across the U.S. say that students should be vaccinated before returning to school, according to a new poll. Above, a nurse takes a Moderna Covid-19 vaccines ready to be administered at a vaccination site at Kedren Community Health Center, in South Central Los Angeles, California on February 16, 2021. Apu Gomes/Getty