Citing Educational Risks, Scientific Panel Urges That Schools Reopen – The New York Times

In one survey, 62 percent of educators and administrators reported that they were somewhat or very concerned about returning to school while the coronavirus continues to be a threat, according to the report. “The school work force issue is really not discussed that much,” Dr. Bond said.

Racial and socio-economic inequities are another prominent concern. The communities where children struggle to learn in dilapidated, understaffed schools are also those hit hardest by the pandemic, said Keisha Scarlett, a committee member and chief of equity, partnerships and engagement at the Seattle Public Schools.

Remote learning is often difficult for children in low-income families. Nationwide, about 30 percent of Indigenous families and about 20 percent of Black and Latino families do not have access to the internet or have it only through a smartphone, compared with 7 percent of white families and 4 percent of Asian families.

Adults in these communities are also more likely to be essential workers who cannot stay home with their children, Dr. Scarlett said. Rates of hospitalization for are four to five times higher in Black, Latino and Indigenous populations than among whites.

“ exacerbates those disparities,” Dr. Scarlett said.

The report also noted significant differences between rural and urban schools. Some 26 percent of people in rural districts and 32 percent of those living on tribal lands do not have reliable internet access.

Samuel Berry-Foster Sr., a sixth-grade science teacher, lives just outside Asheville, N.C., in a pocket of the Appalachian Mountains, with his wife and two school-age children.

For his family and for those of many of his students, Mr. Berry-Foster said, even a simple phone call can be plagued with delays and hangups. For more than one family member to be online at the same time is “impossible.”

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