Most respondents to this month’s Richmond Power Poll are glad that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is urging school systems to offer in-person learning by mid-March, but they are a bit more divided about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination process.
Asked to describe their reaction to Northam’s directive to school systems that they provide in-person options by March 15, 41% said they thought it was great and about time, while another 41% said that it was good and important for those who want to return to have the option.
Only 10% thought the decision was a bad one because it should have been left up to local school boards, and just 7% said that the decision was bad because employees shouldn’t be forced to return if they don’t feel safe.
On the topic of COVID-19 vaccination, respondents had differing opinions about how well the state’s rollout has gone. Virginia was criticized early in the process for ranking 50th among the 50 states for the percentage of vaccine doses administered among those it had received from the federal government.
State officials indicated that a several-day lag in reporting, coupled with the failure of CVS and Walgreens to promptly administer delivered doses to long-term care facilities and the fact that some groups were holding back doses for use as second doses all contributed to the low ranking.
Within less than two weeks, though, Virginia had climbed much higher and now ranks among the top 12 in the nation.
About 41% of respondents termed the state’s vaccine rollout average so far, while 24% said it had been above average. No one thought that it had been excellent, but nearly 21% termed it awful and 14% said it had been below average.
When it comes to being vaccinated themselves, this month’s respondents all implied that they either had already pre-registered for, or received doses. None said that they were choosing not to be vaccinated.
About 34% said that the process to pre-register and/or receive the shots were very smooth, while 31% said that the process was a bit confusing or difficult.
Another 34% indicated that they weren’t yet eligible for the vaccine.