January 26, 2021 at 5:28 pm EST
COVID-19 has devastated so many aspects of American life, but not everyone has experienced the effects equally. The virus has widened the privilege-needs gap in many ways. Color communities are hardest hit, with Black and Hispanic citizens more likely to be infected and killed by the virus. With the additional burdens on housing, hunger and work, many families in historically marginalized communities are in a crisis.
At Chalkbeat, our focus is on education, and the pandemic hit school communities early and hard, with devastating effects beyond classroom closings. When school buildings closed their doors, families lost not only access to learning centers, but also to safety nets for pupils in need.
In the coming months, Chalkbeat will work with Univision to take a 360-degree look at school communities in New York and Newark to record the aftermath of the crisis inside and outside the classroom.
Some of the challenges: Economically stressed parents have problems balancing their children’s work and learning. The students’ ability to learn was impaired by time constraints. Many have had to work to support their families or to babysit younger siblings while their parents work. Teachers and school staff have to turn day in and day out to meet the needs of students and their own families. Counselors see a mental health crisis when it is not already upon us.
In person or virtual, school communities have been forced to face these challenges head on, and in some cases have become sources of innovation, grace and resilience.
We need your help to tell these stories. We hope through the following survey to get a better sense of the key challenges New York and Newark residents are facing regarding education in the pandemic. The questions touch on many facets of life, from distance learning and economic hardship to physical and mental wellbeing.
We will use the answers to guide our reporting and tell stories for and with the communities we serve. We hope you will join our efforts.