Giving Compass' Take:

• Bracey Harris at The Hechinger Report says that due to existing social inequalities that influence health outcomes, Black Americans are more likely to be at risk for COVID-19. In a recent poll, Black and Hispanic parents were more likely to view in-person instruction as unsafe than white parents.

• How does the pandemic expose huge disparities for schools with larger numbers of students of color? What can we do to support students in under-funded school districts during the pandemic?

• Here's why caution is essential in reopening schools. 

Yolanda Logan, the parent engagement coordinator for the Oxford School District, spent two weeks in July making home visits — some announced, some cold-calls — to check in on the students educators had been most worried about when schools shut down in the spring. Some had test scores at the bottom at their class. Some belonged to families who had been struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic struck and devastated the economy.

Logan asked the students, and the adults in their lives, how they were holding up and what support they needed. She tried to gauge their comfort level with the district’s plan to reopen buildings this fall and address any concerns. Ready to answer questions about nuts-and-bolts issues, she had a checklist of important dates like registration deadlines and the first day of school at the ready. But as she went door to door, she met an unexpected wave of opposition.

Many Black and Latino families told her they were uncomfortable with sending their children back. When she was off the clock and brought up the issue with fellow parishioners of one the city’s most prominent Black churches, she met the same response: They wouldn’t budge, she said. “You (could) hear the intensity in their voices, hear their forcefulness.”

Almost 70 percent of Black households with school-aged children said they support or strongly support keeping all instruction online, according to a recent poll. Only 32 percent of white parents indicated the same.

While Latino and Asian parents were more likely to opt-in for distance learning than white families, a greater percentage of Latino families enrolled their children for in-person instruction than Black families. White students, who make up just over half of the district’s student population schools, represent almost two-thirds of the students the district expects to see back on campus this fall.

Read the full article about Black families choosing to keep their children remote when school opens by Bracey Harris at The Hechinger Report.