COVID-19, News

Survey: Americans of color more likely to favor keeping schools closed

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There is new survey data out today indicating that Black and Latinx Americans are much more likely than white Americans to support keeping schools closed to children during the new school year that is about to commence. The survey was conducted Consumer Reports.

This is from an article the nonprofit posted today:

“For Aundi Marie Moore, a Black mother of two in Bowie, Md., there’s no debate about whether her kids should be returning to school this year during the coronavirus pandemic. “My husband and I decided we’re not going to send our children to school, even if it’s mandated, until there’s a vaccine and the safety and health of our community is put first.” Moore says. “Right now, things just seem too rushed.”

Moore is not alone in her concern. Fifty-seven percent of Black Americans and 52 percent of Hispanic Americans say they think that schools should remain closed and that children should begin the school year taking classes online, compared with 25 percent of white Americans, according to a nationally representative survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by Consumer Reports in July.

The reasons for this disparity are no doubt complex. Still, CR found some common reasons emerge from interviews with Black and Hispanic parents who were not part of the survey. They include concerns over greater susceptibility to COVID-19, a lack of faith that safety protocols, including wearing masks and social distancing, can be followed and enforced in a school setting, and a feeling that the decision to open schools is inconsistent with other policies in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

That people of color are greatly concerned about the novel coronavirus comes as little surprise. As NC Justice Center analyst Will Munn reported in this space back in May, African Americans have been suffering and dying from COVID-19 at disproportionate rates since the onset of the pandemic. This from Munn’s report:

Historical discriminatory policies and practices, as well as the nation’s failure to value its ‘essential workers,’ have put African Americans at greater risk.

  • African Americans are more likely than white Americans to work jobs — even multiple jobs — that do not offer health insurance. Many of these workers fall into the “coverage gap,” meaning they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to qualify for financial assistance under the Affordable Care Act.
  • African Americans are overrepresented in occupations now deemed essential to the well-being of the nation, such as food service, food production, home health care and nursing home care. These jobs put the people who work them at higher risk for contracting the coronavirus.
  • Neighborhoods and counties with high populations of people of color have fewer health care providers and grocery stores, as well as lower air and water quality due to the legacy of environmental discrimination. As a result, African Americans have a higher rate of conditions that make COVID-19 more deadly, such as diabetes, chronic lung disease and hypertension.”

Of course, there is a perverse flip side to this story in that these same populations — people of color and low income — are also the ones that are generally less well-prepared to cope with online education thanks to the fact that they tend to have more of a need to work outside of the home and less access to reliable internet service and or the devices they need to get online in the first place.

Click here to read the CR story.

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