SACRAMENTO (INSIDE CALIFORNIA POLITICS) — Californians were split when it came to deciding if the COVID-19 vaccine should be mandatory for students and teachers in public schools, a new poll shows.

The exclusive new statewide poll of more than 1,000 registered voters, which has a margin of error of +/-2.9%, found 52% of Californians support a vaccine mandate for middle school and high school students age 12 and older, as cases have nearly tripled in the U.S. over two weeks. But not far behind, 49% of respondents said it should not be mandatory.

Also in the exclusive poll, 45% of respondents said vaccinated students and teachers should be required to wear masks in the classroom, while 40% said no, and 15% of respondents were unsure or had no opinion.

At this time, California is requiring masks in schools, but will ultimately leave decisions on how to handle enforcement up to the local school districts.

The University of California system is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone, but COVID-19 vaccine requirements are not uniform across the various colleges and universities in the state of California.

While all nine U.C. schools are mandating students and staff are vaccinated this fall, the 23 public universities and the 500,000 students that make up the California State University system are taking a different approach.

This comes as Governor Gavin Newsom weighs the possibility of returning California’s statewide mask requirement.

The Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll was conducted July 19-20, 2021. The sample consisted of California registered voters, n=1,085, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.9 percentage points.