Article written by Jamie Smith for Johns Hopkins HUB
A team of Johns Hopkins researchers has recently launched a new website that provides a range of tools including interactive maps and resource guides dedicated to assessing and guiding K-12 school reopening plans in all states across the U.S. This tool includes a policy tracker with real-time analysis of all the latest guidance from every state. In comparing these guidance documents across the states, researchers note that one-third of reopening plans do not mention equity considerations for low-income students and students of color. This is of concern given the known barriers these students face when it comes to educational and health outcomes, "Schools are a nexus of health and well-being for children, particularly in less resourced communities where the burdens of the pandemic are being borne disproportionately" (Megan Collins, co-director of the Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions). Collins notes how this tool has been built to contribute to ongoing discussions about narrowing health and academic equity gaps for low-income students and students of color. Furthermore, the value of in-person instruction is noted for students and their families who might be returning to full-time work. However, the safety of students, faculty, and staff is emphasized as being of utmost importance, and will require schools to find new ways to support students in their learning and health.
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