Public Opinions on School-based COVID-19 Vaccination and Masking Mandates
The following report highlights findings from a survey fielded by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy in March 2022. We examine public opinions on requiring COVID-19 vaccination for school enrollment and the ending of indoor masking policies in New York State at the beginning of March. The survey was conducted from March 20 – March 21, 2022, among 1,000 participants across nine New York counties: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Nassau, New York (Manhattan), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester.
When asked about adding COVID-19 vaccination to the list of other childhood vaccinations required for school enrollment (ie., MMR), over half (54%) of respondents supported the idea. Twenty-nine (29%) of respondents did not agree, 17% felt unsure. Among those who support this policy concept, 75% were vaccinated and 25% were unvaccinated. Among those who disagree, 47% were vaccinated and 54% were unvaccinated.
Support for COVID-19 vaccination requirements for school enrollment was highest among African American/Black respondents (65%) and lowest among Hispanic or Latino/a respondents (48%). Support for ending indoor mask policies for public activities and in-person schooling was highest among respondents who identify as Hispanic or Latino/a (49%) and lowest among Asian respondents (38%).
Generally, respondents who supported the idea of having COVID-19 vaccination requirements for school enrollment expressed their support for continuing indoor mask policies as well. Overall, 46% of respondents approved ending the policy that required masks for indoor public activities and in-person schooling; 36% of respondents opposed. Vaccinated respondents were evenly split about ending indoor mask policies (39% support and 41% oppose; 20% were unsure). Over half (58%) of unvaccinated respondents supported ending indoor mask policies compared to about a quarter (26%) of unvaccinated respondents who opposed; 16% were unsure.
Launched in May 2021, the Campaign was developed by CONVINCE USA and a team of faculty and staff at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. Our mission is to lighten the load of community and direct service organizations by increasing community-level access to vaccine education. The NY VLC provides tools, training, and capacity building resources to community partners. This work is supported by the New York Community Trust, the Altman Foundation, and the New York State Health Foundation.
About CUNY SPH
The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to promoting and sustaining healthier populations in New York City and around the world through excellence in education, research, and service in public health and by advocating for sound policy and practice to advance social justice and improve health outcomes for all.