Here’s what readers need to feel safe sending their children back to school or daycare

Parents need a lot more than required face masks.

Middleborough publice school buses are lined up in their storage yard on Wareham Street. John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

What will it take for parents to feel safe sending their children back to school or daycare?

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Earlier this week, we asked this question and over 400 readers responded to our poll. The results revealed that although many readers prefer requiring face masks for students, more than half wouldn’t feel safe for their children to return to school or child care until there was a coronavirus vaccine.

The initial guidelines for reopening schools released by state officials on Thursday prioritized a return to in-person classes, required masks for students in grade 2 and above, and separate students into groups that do not mix to minimize transmission.


Other measures that readers said would make them feel safe to send their children back to school included regular cleaning of shared objects (50 percent of respondents) and hand sanitizer stations (47 percent). While 43 percent of respondents wanted to require teachers and faculty wearing masks, only 28 percent wanted mandatory masks for students.

Readers were able to select multiple safety measures and add their own. “Additional assistance and better sick leave for working parents — parents who HAVE to go to work will send their sick kids to school and will go to work sick themselves,” one reader said. “Childcare for infants is really difficult…[they] are developmentally dependent on seeing faces/ physical contact. Any masks by childcare workers should be clear,” said another reader.


Below are the poll results.

  • A vaccine: 51%
  • Regular cleaning of shared objects (i.e. toys, playground, gym equipment, art supplies): 50%
  • Hand sanitizer stations: 47%
  • Face masks for teachers and faculty: 43%
  • Increased air flow/ventilation: 39%
  • Contact tracing: 38%
  • No visitors allowed in school: 37%
  • Reduced class sizes: 36%
  • I feel safe sending my children back now: 33%
  • Temperature checks at the door: 31%
  • Additional custodial staff: 29%
  • Face masks for students: 28%
  • Desks spaced at least 6 feet apart: 24%
  • One-way hallways: 19%
  • Other: 9%

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