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Survey: New Orleans parents split on mandatory COVID-19 vaccine for students

But more parents supported the mask mandate for students. Nearly two-thirds of surveyed parents want students to wear masks.

NEW ORLEANS — Across the nation, school board meetings have been contentious, as parents with differing opinions on COVID measures speak out.

A new survey out Friday looks at how parents feel about school mandates in Orleans parish.

The Cowen Institute at Tulane monitors and analyzes the K-12 education system in New Orleans. Friday, they released its findings on parents’ opinions on COVID mandates.

One key finding is that virtual school is not popular.

74% PREFER IN-PERSON SCHOOL

80% WORRIED ABOUT SCHOOL TIME MISSED

“There's definitely been significant learning loss due to COVID, and so there is, I think, legitimate fear among educators and parents,” said Vincent Rossmeier, Policy Director at the Tulane Cowen Institute.

When it comes to mandatory vaccines for students, the response was close to being split down the middle, with slightly more against.

Mandatory vaccines for eligible students

48.4% OPPOSE

44.0% SUPPORT

Here are the findings for others in the schools.

“Less than a majority of parents supported mandatory vaccines for school contractors, mandatory vaccines for teachers, mandatory vaccines for students and coaches participating in extracurricular activities, and the lowest support was for mandatory vaccines for eligible students.” He said

But more parents supported the mask mandate for students. Nearly two-thirds agreed with that.

Mask mandates for students

30.1% OPPOSE

65.7% SUPPORT

And there was similar support, around two-thirds, for teachers wearing masks.

Mask mandates for teachers

26.7% OPPOSE

64.2% SUPPORT

“Some of it was surprising from the fact we also found 74 percent of parents prefer in-person schooling since in-person schooling is safest when it's predicated on using masks and having as many people including students vaccinated,  it was surprising.”

Another surprising finding, parents whose child was exposed to someone with the virus and had to quarantine, were not more likely to support mask or vaccine mandates, but for contractors, like school bus drivers and custodial workers, parents were highly in favor of them being tested, more so than teachers.

Mandatory testing for contractors

17.9% OPPOSE

76.3% SUPPORT

And the survey finds there was not much of a difference in answers by race. There was a bigger difference based on education and income. More wealth and education correlated with more support for vaccines and masks.

And the survey also found that a vast majority believe parents and families should be able to opt-out of mandatory COVID vaccines for students.