COVID-19 & Our Communities
COVID-19 & Our Communities
The systemic inequities that are laid bare by COVID-19 increase the stressors on our students, our families and the most vulnerable in our communities. As we organize together for a better tomorrow, we are sharing ways that educators and allies are addressing the challenges and keeping us connected and caring for each other.
School Reopening: Ensuring Safe, Just and Healthy Learning
If we’re serious about making sure every child can learn safely and pursue their dreams during this pandemic and beyond, let’s get serious about doing what works. As the COVID 19 pandemic continues to intensify, parents, educators, and communities are waiting to see how schools will be able to reopen safely this fall.
By joining together across race and ZIP code, we can rewrite the rules to ensure that school districts are asking the right questions and ensuring that no matter where students are learning this year that every school has the materials, up-to-date strategies, healthy meals and emotional support to set kids up to be all that they dream.
Black Communities on the Frontlines: The Inequality Crisis and COVID
How states, localities and educators are responding
Across the United States, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting many Black communities especially hard, revealing a stunning difference in the COVID-19 death rate of Black Americans and the rest of the country. Consistently, evidence shows that our society fails to protect and nurture Black people the way it cares for others.
Educators, advocates and community members are mobilizing to pressure elected officials and government agencies to acknowledge and address these disparities.
Native Communities Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic
As the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise across the United States, the pandemic is hitting some tribal communities especially hard, underscoring existing health disparities, crowded housing conditions and water access issues that health experts fear could facilitate a devastating spread of the virus among Native Americans.
The virus has already hit the Navajo Nation especially hard, with more than 830 cases and 30 deaths as of April 21. In New Mexico, where Native Americans now make up more than 30 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases, two pueblos of the Zuni Nation have some of the highest infection rates in the United States.
COVID-19 & Immigrant Communities: Your Questions Answered
Every significant immigration issue that might affect students or educators, from DACA renewals to federal support of immigrant workers and their families, is impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, more than 200,000 DACA recipients – including nearly 15,000 educators and 29,000 health care workers – are working to protect our health and safety, ship critical products, staff grocery stores and ensure children are still being educated.
As the federal government and states come together to protect all communities struggling with the pandemic, smart public health and immigration policy responses are critical. Below are some key questions and answers about how COVID-19 is impacting students, educators, and our schools, as well as links to additional information and resources.
In Response to COVID-19: A Checklist to Support LGBTQ Students During Distance Learning
During the COVID-19 quarantine, educators across the country are learning how to continue to provide a safe and affirming experience for LGBTQ students via distance learning. Recent data supports the need for educator action and focus:
According to HRC’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report:
- 67% of LGBTQ students hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people.
- While some students are open about their LGBTQ identity at school, only 21% are out at home.
- Privacy and confidentiality are critically important for LGBTQ youth, especially for those who do not have supportive families. Extreme rejecting behaviors can have dire consequences: Approximately 40% of the homeless youth population in the United States identify as LGBTQ, most as a result of rejection by immediate family members.
- Additionally, LGBTQ youth of color often face additional stress and adverse impacts on their health and well-being as a result of bias around their intersecting identities.
Community groups allied with educators adapt in COVID-19 reality
By Félix Pérez
Black, Latino, Indigenous and low-income communities have been hit especially hard by COVID -19, laying bare a host of longstanding structural and institutional inequities. But physical distancing and other COVID-related restrictions are not stopping local groups allied with educators from organizing and improvising in their communities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has really shown the importance of schools as vital hubs for our students and families. They’re the social and emotional centers of our communities,” said Keith Brown, a middle school teacher and president of the Oakland Education Association in California. OEA members have made videos for parents and translated them into multiple languages, as well as created a curriculum on how to do wellness checks on students and families.
Building Power in Our Communities
Ready to get active and be the superhero our students deserve in the fight for racial, social and economic justice in public education? Then join the NEA EdJustice League!
From the Human Rights Campaign: Resources for school counselors on supporting LGBTQ youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sick Days & Paid Leave
Information from the National Women's Law Center on expanding paid sick days and paid family & medical leave in response to COVID-19.
From the National Immigrant Law Center: State and local advocacy for an immigrant-inclusive response to the COVID-19 crisis.