Irish Times poll: Half of voters believe schools should reopen ‘as normal’ in September

Poll shows 88% say Government has done a good job handling Covid-19

Voters overwhelmingly back the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic so far, but a majority of those expressing an opinion believe schools should reopen “as normal” in September, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll.

However, a large minority of voters say the schools should reopen only “in a limited capacity”.

Respondents to the poll were presented with three statements and asked to say which one was closest to their views on the reopening of schools.

Half of all voters (50 per cent) agree that “schools should reopen as normal in September”, while 40 per cent said they should “reopen in a limited capacity”. Eight per cent agreed with the statement “It’s too early to say,” while 2 per cent had no opinion.


The Government has been under fire on the question of the reopening of schools. Last week, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said if two-metre social distancing remained in place, pupils would be able to go to school for only one day a week in September. He said this would not be acceptable to the Government and an alternative plan for reopening would be drawn up.

However, a huge majority of voters (88 per cent) say the Government has done a good job handling the pandemic, while just 9 per cent say it has not done a good job.

Voters also agree with the pace of the Government’s reopening plan – just 20 per cent of voters say the plan is moving too quickly, while 12 per cent say it is moving too slowly. Two-thirds of voters (66 per cent) say the plan is “moving at about the right pace”.

The poll was conducted among more than 1,200 respondents between June 11th and 14th. The accuracy level is estimated to be about plus or minus 2.8 per cent. This poll was conducted by telephone, owing to coronavirus restrictions. Previous polls have been conducted through face-to-face interviews.

Covid-19 figures

Meanwhile, a total of three new deaths of patients with Covid-19 were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Tuesday.

This brings to 1,709 the total number of deaths linked to the disease in the Republic. NPHET also reported another 14 cases of the virus, bringing the total number of cases to 25,334.

One more person has died from Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, taking the total to 542, the North’s Department of Health reported on Tuesday afternoon in its daily bulletin. Just two more people have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,854.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times