Whether schools should be reopened after the COVID-19 lockdown has proved to be a contentious issue. These divisions are mostly informed by the fact that the transmission patterns of COVID-19 aren’t well understood. As is the case with most public discourse issues today, social media is an excellent place to determine what people are thinking. We scoured through twitter to see what the general sentiment was on this matter.

Methodology

We crawled over 1.2 million tweets in the past two weeks (August 28th – September 14th) across the United States. Then, we used an NLP tool called TensiStrength to detect positive/negative sentiments and the stress level expressed in each tweet.

U.S Back-to-School: Support or Against?

Tweets with sentiment detected as Positive are considered as Support back-to-school.

Tweets with sentiment detected as Negative are considered as Against back-to-school.

We do not take into consideration tweets with sentiment detected as Neutral. 

When a state has more positive tweets than negative tweets, we consider it as the state support back-to-school, and vice versa.

With that in mind, we have:

americans-reactions-back-to-school
1
states are against reopening schools
1 %
Americans support back-to-school
%
Americans are against back-to-school

The seven states that support school reopening are:

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee

Among the states against going back to school, Maryland has the highest rate (41.29%).

State Support/Against? % support % against
Alabama Against 30,23% 36,45%
Alaska Against 28,90% 37,07%
Arizona Support 32,89% 32,28%
Arkansas Against 29,06% 35,35%
California Against 28,09% 35,68%
Colorado Against 19,07% 33,06%
Connecticut Support 29,58% 28,75%
Delaware Support 34,51% 26,55%
Florida Against 26,76% 37,40%
Georgia Against 26,03% 38,63%
Idaho Against 30,17% 36,44%
Illinois Against 30,50% 35,58%
Indiana Against 28,32% 38,94%
Iowa Against 30,13% 32,86%
Kansas Support 34,87% 29,84%
Kentucky Against 30,66% 35,01%
Louisiana Against 32,77% 33,53%
Maine Against 26,70% 38,21%
Maryland Against 27,27% 41,29%
Massachusetts Against 26,92% 36,36%
Michigan Against 30,93% 32,05%
Minnesota Against 28,97% 35,71%
Mississippi Against 30,23% 34,74%
Missouri Support 35,55% 30,68%
Montana Against 19,08% 33,06%
Nebraska Against 31,27% 34,61%
Nevada Support 36,26% 29,25%
New Hampshire Against 30,18% 36,09%
New Jersey Against 25,83% 39,30%
New Mexico Against 27,06% 37,63%
New York Against 26,83% 37,50%
North Carolina Against 31,81% 32,81%
North Dakota Against 26,07% 36,30%
Ohio Against 30,80% 34,55%
Oklahoma Against 31,48% 32,39%
Oregon Against 32,36% 33,00%
Pennsylvania Against 26,80% 37,09%
Rhode Island Against 27,59% 37,93%
South Carolina Against 30,50% 34,08%
South Dakota Against 26,00% 33,20%
Tennessee Support 34,26% 32,47%
Texas Against 28,88% 37,30%
Utah Against 30,95% 35,17%
Vermont Against 31,03% 39,08%
Virginia Against 28,71% 37,58%
Washington Against 28,42% 35,34%
West Virginia Against 24,32% 40,81%
Wisconsin Against 30,14% 36,26%
Wyoming Against 30,82% 33,66%
Hawaii Against 27,21% 36,11%
District of Columbia Against 24,79% 43,06%

How Americans Are Stressed About Reopening Schools

Each tweet was detected with a stress level. Stress levels range from -4 to +4, and can be understood as follows:

Stress level
-4 Extremely stressed
-3
-2
-1 Stressed
Stress level
4 Extremely relaxed
3
2
1 Relaxed

We do not take into consideration tweets with stress level detected as Zero (which can be understood as Neutral)

When a state has more “stressed” tweets than ”relaxed” tweets, we consider it as the state is stressed about back-to-school, and vice versa.

With that in mind, we have established that:

americans-reactions-back-to-school
1 %
Americans are relaxed about back-to-school
1 %
Americans feel stressful about back-to-school
1
states are stressed about reopening schools

Top 5 states that are most relaxed about back-to-school:

  1. Nevada – 36.29%
  2. Missouri – 35.46%
  3. Delaware – 34.96%
  4. Kansa – 34.91%
  5. Tennessee – 34.26%

Top 5 states that are most stressed about back-to-school:

  1. New Jersey – 34.50%
  2. Maryland – 33.33%
  3. Indiana – 32.30%
  4. Georgia – 31.79%
  5. Maine – 31.39%

Detailed stress levels of each state:

State Stressed/Relaxed? Level -4 Level -3 Level -2 Level -1 Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Alabama Relaxed 0.54% 4.29% 10.52% 14.31% 18.42% 9.61% 2.07% 0.23%
Alaska Stressed 0.50% 4.16% 10.68% 14.73% 16.51% 9.53% 2.80% 0.17%
Arizona Relaxed 0.38% 3.01% 9.57% 12.64% 16.04% 12.94% 3.92% 0.09%
Arkansas Relaxed 0.42% 4.12% 10.17% 14.11% 16.75% 9.39% 2.77% 0.19%
California Stressed 0.55% 4.33% 10.63% 14.08% 16.23% 8.94% 2.75% 0.19%
Colorado Stressed 0.10% 2.11% 8.71% 17.31% 13.59% 4.18% 1.26% 0.10%
Connecticut Relaxed 0.42% 2.50% 8.75% 12.08% 18.33% 7.50% 3.33% 0.42%
Delaware Relaxed 0.44% 3.54% 6.64% 10.18% 19.47% 11.50% 3.10% 0.88%
District of Columbia Stressed 0.60% 4.76% 12.65% 17.18% 15.90% 7.09% 1.77% 0.12%
Florida Stressed 0.45% 4.02% 11.44% 14.72% 16.26% 8.17% 2.33% 0.10%
Georgia Stressed 0.48% 4.36% 11.69% 15.26% 16.40% 7.44% 2.10% 0.12%
Hawaii Stressed 0.56% 3.36% 10.36% 14.96% 15.90% 9.22% 2.00% 0.20%
Idaho Relaxed 0.48% 4.32% 10.55% 14.19% 18.27% 9.65% 2.15% 0.22%
Illinois Relaxed 0.76% 4.24% 10.30% 13.69% 15.67% 11.05% 3.57% 0.21%
Indiana Stressed 0.44% 6.19% 11.95% 13.72% 12.83% 11.95% 3.54% 0.00%
Iowa Relaxed 0.47% 3.50% 8.88% 13.73% 15.09% 11.32% 3.77% 0.05%
Kansas Relaxed 0.38% 2.45% 8.20% 12.55% 17.58% 12.89% 4.18% 0.25%
Kentucky Relaxed 0.68% 4.19% 10.03% 13.35% 15.81% 11.15% 3.56% 0.19%
Louisiana Relaxed 0.57% 4.14% 9.70% 13.10% 15.96% 12.13% 4.42% 0.24%
Maine Stressed 0.48% 4.15% 11.84% 14.92% 16.35% 8.11% 2.22% 0.09%
Maryland Stressed 0.57% 3.60% 12.88% 16.29% 14.96% 10.23% 1.52% 0.19%
Massachusetts Stressed 0.14% 3.62% 10.72% 13.85% 15.20% 8.52% 2.98% 0.28%
Michigan Relaxed 0.35% 3.54% 8.67% 12.55% 16.91% 10.70% 3.28% 0.13%
Minnesota Relaxed 0.46% 3.77% 9.94% 14.77% 15.35% 9.94% 3.46% 0.22%
Mississippi Relaxed 0.35% 4.03% 8.93% 14.27% 16.13% 10.62% 3.64% 0.09%
Missouri Relaxed 0.43% 3.61% 8.45% 12.18% 17.45% 13.32% 4.47% 0.22%
Montana Stressed 0.10% 2.02% 8.73% 17.42% 13.58% 4.19% 1.21% 0.10%
Nebraska Relaxed 0.49% 4.34% 9.64% 13.47% 17.54% 10.79% 2.88% 0.24%
Nevada Relaxed 0.38% 3.10% 8.27% 11.79% 18.03% 13.71% 4.36% 0.19%
New Hampshire Relaxed 0.59% 1.78% 10.65% 14.79% 13.61% 12.43% 2.96% 1.18%
New Jersey Stressed 0.92% 4.43% 13.10% 16.05% 13.10% 9.59% 2.77% 0.18%
New Mexico Stressed 0.47% 4.24% 11.33% 14.93% 16.31% 8.20% 2.46% 0.13%
New York Stressed 0.46% 4.10% 11.28% 14.89% 16.50% 8.06% 2.28% 0.11%
North Carolina Relaxed 0.36% 3.50% 8.81% 13.78% 15.66% 12.23% 3.81% 0.13%
North Dakota Stressed 0.31% 5.73% 11.66% 11.96% 14.21% 9.51% 2.66% 0.10%
Ohio Relaxed 0.55% 3.80% 10.24% 13.42% 15.58% 11.25% 3.82% 0.23%
Oklahoma Relaxed 0.42% 3.13% 9.13% 13.49% 15.35% 12.26% 3.96% 0.04%
Oregon Relaxed 0.53% 3.61% 9.03% 13.07% 16.46% 11.91% 3.89% 0.26%
Pennsylvania Stressed 0.44% 4.51% 9.47% 15.80% 14.80% 8.20% 3.85% 0.11%
Rhode Island Stressed 0.57% 1.72% 13.22% 14.37% 19.54% 6.90% 1.15% 0.00%
South Carolina Relaxed 0.38% 3.58% 9.20% 14.26% 15.53% 11.45% 3.36% 0.12%
South Dakota Stressed 1.60% 3.60% 8.80% 12.80% 13.20% 8.80% 2.80% 1.20%
Tennessee Relaxed 0.55% 3.87% 9.27% 13.01% 16.05% 13.08% 4.84% 0.30%
Texas Stressed 0.53% 4.13% 10.83% 14.79% 16.60% 9.46% 2.75% 0.17%
Utah Relaxed 0.71% 3.92% 10.11% 13.62% 15.92% 11.38% 3.57% 0.18%
Vermont Relaxed 2.30% 6.90% 11.49% 9.20% 19.54% 9.20% 2.30% 0.00%
Virginia Stressed 0.08% 4.19% 12.34% 13.15% 16.21% 9.84% 2.82% 0.24%
Washington Stressed 0.49% 4.30% 10.45% 13.94% 16.29% 9.17% 2.83% 0.18%
West Virginia Stressed