According to an unofficial survey, a vast majority of people in the area want public schools students to be back in the classroom in the upcoming school year.

State Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), being in the legislature, is pretty much on the sidelines when it comes to making the decision of how schools are going to reopen in the upcoming school year.

Gov. Roy Cooper is going to make that decision.

But being on the sidelines doesn’t mean out of the picture, and Hardister conducted his own survey on social media asking people how they thought public schools should reopen and he forwarded those results to Cooper.

Sometime this week, Cooper is supposed to announce his decision on how schools in the state will reopen. The announcement was originally scheduled for July 1.

One thing is certain, by state law the schools have to reopen in some form or fashion on Monday, August 17.

Hardister said he received 341 relevant responses that he placed in four categories.

Full Reopen: 45 percent – “Reopening schools with very minimal to no restrictions for students faculty or staff.”

Reopen with some restrictions/accommodations: 26 percent –“Reopening schools with a defined set of parameters that includes social distancing guidelines, smaller class sizes, cleaning standards and/or alternative calendar arrangements.”

Undecided: 10 percent – “Commenter showed no real opinion either way.”

No Reopen/Remote Learning: 19 percent – “Commenter expressed a desire not to return to school this year in favor of virtual learning similar to what was implemented in the Spring.”

Hardister notes that when the Full Reopen is combined with Reopening with some restrictions, the total is 72 percent. He said, “Based on these results we can infer that the vast majority of the people that commented are favorable to some form of reopening this fall.”

That compares to only 19 percent who don’t want students to have any classroom time in the upcoming school year.

Hardister noted that those who were in favor of No Reopening “expressed concern that students would in turn cause a spike in COVID-19 cases as a result of the logistical difficulty of ensuring that students would social distance at school.”

Hardister said, “My purpose in doing this was to encourage input from people in our community and provide the Governor’s office with additional feedback. There may not be an easy choice or a perfect solution, but regardless of which action we take, it is important to consider what parents, teachers and students have to say.”