Broward County voters largely support waiting to reopen schools to ensure students and teachers will be safe from COVID-19, according to a new poll.
The poll asked likely general election voters if they want to immediately reopen schools “to help students, parents and the local economy" or want to wait "until we can guarantee the health and safety of students, teachers, employees and their families,” according to a release by the Broward Teachers Union, which commissioned the poll.
The results showed 67% of voters in the county supported delaying to ensure health and safety, while 27% favored immediately reopening schools. Half felt strongly about health and safety, but only 20% felt strongly about an immediate reopening plan, the union says.
The poll comes days before the Broward School Board is expected to decide whether to support a recommendation from Superintendent Robert Runcie to open schools for face-to-face learning on Oct. 5. The School Board plans to discuss the matter Tuesday.
“This confirms what we have been saying all along,” said Anna Fusco, president of the union. “Our union’s position has always been that face-to-face learning is optimal, but we can’t safely reopen schools physically until the district has procedures and rules in place that protect students, teachers, school employees and their families.”
Fusco spoke at a joint news conference with United Teachers of Dade calling for a delay to face-to-face learning, a position supported by unions in all three South Florida counties. Palm Beach County plans to open by early October.
The poll also found that Broward voters trust teachers the most — followed closely by the School Board and Runcie — when making decisions about physically reopening schools safely and looking out for the interests of students, parents and teachers.
The heavily Democratic makeup of the county is evident in the poll, with results showing that 55% view the union favorably, compared to a 32% trust rating for the Trump administration and 36% trust rating for Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump and DeSantis have both been strong supporters of reopening schools for face-to-face learning.
The poll was conduct by TargetSmart Research Solutions, which interviewed 682 people from Sept. 1-6, with landline and mobile phones, and online after recruiting voters with text and email messages. TargetSmart said the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8%.
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