As millions of kids prepare for a return to in-person classes, families of color are cautious about a return to schools for various reasons.
A recent survey conducted by the Rand Corp. shows 18% of Black parents, 17% of Hispanic parents, and 12% of Asian parents are uncertain or against sending their children back to school. Meanwhile, just 6% of white parents feel the same.
Additionally, Rand’s research showed two-thirds of Black, Hispanic, and Asian parents needed mandatory masking, teacher vaccinations, testing, and updated ventilation systems to feel safe about in-person classes. The Washington Post notes white parents are much less worried. Just 32% said they needed masking requirements, and 35% said they needed testing.
Other surveys show significantly more hesitancy about a return to in-person classes for students and parents of color. When Sharon Tucker kept her son in virtual classes last year, she knew it would take a toll on her family, but she was surprised by his comments when she talked to her son.
He worried about what would happen if his mask slipped down or if he forgot other new rules. Tucker soon realized her son was worried about being unfairly disciplined because he is Black.
“It’s just one of the realities families of color have,” Tucker told the Post. “He wanted to stay remote.”
In addition to a rise in cases and deaths, parents of color across the country may also have to deal with other parents who don’t believe in vaccinations, masks, social distancing, or the coronavirus in general. Videos have been popping up all over social media, showing parents shouting ridiculous claims at school board meetings, blaming liberals, and even attacking children. Some meetings have become so tense, school board members across the country are quitting.
The health risks related to the coronavirus are a bigger concern for families of color. The coronavirus pandemic has infected and killed more people and families of color, especially Black Americans than white Americans.
Additionally, the pandemic has exposed racial inequities in education. Many Black parents decided to keep their kids at home partly because of Black children’s difficult experiences in schools. Virtual learning allowed Black parents to shield their children from the surveillance, racism, and unfair punishment they may face during in-person classes.