White elementary school students in New York had far greater access to in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic than black or Hispanic students, a new study suggests.
Researchers looked at the 271 districts in the state that had elementary schools open full-time with in-person learning in October 2020.
They found that five times as many white students as black students had access to classrooms and three times many Caucasian pupils as Hispanic pupils had access.
The team, from the University at Albany in New York, says the findings suggest that different plans in reopening schools exacerbated gaps that may have repercussions on test scores and academic achievement for years.
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A new study looked at the 271 New York state school districts that had elementary schools open full-time with in-person learning in October 2020. Pictured: Chris Frank, a teacher at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 teaches students, December 2020
In total, about 343,000 white students had access to in-person schooling compared to 92,000 Hispanic pupils and 60,000 black students, meaning five times as many white kids compared to black kids and three times as many compared to Hispanic kids had access
When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck in March 2020, schools quickly closed and pivoted to remote learning.
However, when the school year finished and the new semester came around in Fall 2020, districts grappled with whether or not they would reopen.
Although it's well-known that remote-only learning puts kids in communities of color and those with special needs at a disadvantage, experts have warned that uneven reopening plans might widen