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Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, and Alaska Native parents expressed more concern than White parents about the safety of reopening schools last fall, according to a survey commissioned by the CDC.
President Joe Biden pledged to reopen schools within 100 days of taking office as part of a larger coordinated response to control the pandemic and move the country toward recovery, according to news reports. But achieving that goal will require parents to support safety measures.
Among 858 parents surveyed in July 2020, almost two-thirds of White parents strongly or somewhat agreed that schools should reopen in the fall. In comparison, half of Hispanic parents and 46% of Black parents agreed with that statement. However, White parents were less supportive of a mask mandate for students and staff than other racial and ethnic groups: about 63% of White parents supported a mandate compared with nearly 80% of Hispanic parents, 73% of Black parents, and 70% of parents who identified as Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, or another racial or ethnic group.
Nearly all parents who identified as Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, or another racial group were concerned about students’ compliance with safety measures. About 92% of Black parents shared that concern, along with 85% of White parents and 81% of Hispanic parents. More than 90% of parents who identified as Black, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native, or another racial group were concerned about their child contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at school compared with roughly 85% of White or Hispanic parents.
“Understanding parental attitudes and concerns is critical to informing communication and messaging around COVID-19 mitigation,” the authors wrote. “Families’ concerns also highlight the need for flexible education plans and equitable resource provision so that youth education is not compromised,” they added.
Kuehn BM. Racial Variations in Parents’ Attitudes About Reopening Schools. JAMA. 2021;325(4):335. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.26168
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