Canadians and Americans agree on mandatory masks in schools, differ on comfort with reopening: study
MONTREAL -- With schools across Canada and the US mulling plans to reopen next month after the COVID-19 pandemic forced their closures, a new study found Quebecers are the most comfortable across both countries with allowing classes to restart providing protective measures are put in place.
"This is attributable to the lesser degree of anxiety amongst Quebecers about getting COVID-19," reads the introduction to an Association for Canadian Studies survey. "Quebecers are broadly supportive of the various measures that will accompany school reopening whether it is social distancing, screening questionnaires, taking temperatures and mandatory mask wearing for both teachers and students."
When asked whether reopening schools made them worried, 41 per cent of Canadians (of 1,517 asked) and 51 per cent of Americans (of 1,004 asked) said they were "more worried" about personally contracting COVID-19.
In Quebec, however, just 22 per cent said they were more worried, while 62 per cent said school reopening did not change their feeling.
At 13 per cent, Quebecers had the highest rate of respondents who said they were "less worried" about contracting the virus when schools reopened compared to the national average in both countries of seven per cent.
Fifty-nine per cent of Canadians and over three-quarters (77 per cent) of Quebecers said they will send their children to school in the fall, whereas under half (41 per cent) of Americans felt safe doing so.
In Quebec, French-speaking parents were far more likely to send their kids to school (86 per cent) than English-speaking parents (54 per cent) provided there is some form of classroom instruction at least a few days a week.
Forty-four per cent of Americans who responded said they would keep their kids at home compared to just 18 per cent of Canadians.
In both countries, the survey found mandatory mask-wearing is a supported measure in schools.
When asked, American respondents highly supported students (82 per cent) and staff (87 per cent) being required to wear masks. Of the Canadians who responded, 65 per cent said students should be made to wear protective masks, while 81 per cent felt teachers should have to.
The online study was conducted between July 24 and 26.