As schools reopen, will Black and Asian families return?
While many families are eager for a return to in-person learning this fall, others are not: Surveys show that some families are reluctant to return — and, that Black and Asian families are the most likely to feel this way. In early April, for example, only about 25 percent of Black parents expressed a preference for in-person learning over fully remote learning or a hybrid of the two, compared with 60 percent of white parents, per the University of Southern California’s Understanding Coronavirus in America tracking survey. Meanwhile, Asian families in New York City opted for in-person learning this spring at the lowest rate of any demographic, a pattern that holds true elsewhere in the country. The share of Hispanic students opting out of remote learning has also been consistently higher than for non-Hispanic white students. Covid-related health concerns are one reason: People of color have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
But time away from the education system has also given families the distance to reflect on the injustices their children face at school — and wonder if they’re better off at home. As school districts across the country reopen this fall, with some choosing to eliminate the remote learning option, these families are facing a dilemma over what to do. Schools, for their part, are rolling out programs they hope will ameliorate the past year-plus of learning loss and reacclimate students to the school environment, while also trying to find ways to win back the confidence of families and address the many challenges that fall will bring.
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