Black educators on the Covid-19 front line

(News4usonline) – When it comes to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, Black educators have had to deal with a two-edge sword. Aside from being able to teach or instruct their students-online or in-person, a challenge within itself, Black educators have had o make sure they are available to do their jobs in the first place. 

The pandemic drove the physical in-person learning curve to a remote setting where it was a struggle for both teacher and students to get adjusted to. However, as Covid-19 diluted itself enough for students and teachers to come back into the classroom, the pandemic have lingered around. 

Photo by Christina Morillo

At first, both educators and students returned wearing masks for protection. Soon after, those masks were discarded and the flow of in-person and instructional learning began to creep back into a little bit of normalcy. 

However, back in 2021, when things were still a little murky around teaching, educators, particularly Black educators had to confront their own belief system in regards to doing their jobs safely. 

That’s because reports and surveyed showed the hesitancy of Black Americans of getting vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent study illustrates this point. According to the CDC, Black  Americans are the least likely of all major ethnic groups to be vaccinated with half (59.5 percent) of the population having received at least of vaccine shot.

That number climb up to be a little higher in California (68 percent) and drop to 45 percent in heavy populous states such as Florida and Michigan. For Blacks, the numbers of individuals who have completed the series of vaccine shots dip to 44 percent nationally, and drop much lower for those who have received a booster dose. 

The CDC states that as of Dec. 7, 2022, only 6.7 percent of African Americans have received an updated booster shot. 

How does this play into the role Black educators performing in the classroom? Well, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard College Libraries has a tracking system and discusses how the pandemic has affected Black Americans in all walks of life, including in education. 

Using the voice of The Teacher’s Lounge, the thought process is that long-term or institutionalized racism and inequities in the country’s healthcare systems is now playing itself openly in the face of Covid-19. 

“The toxic inequities in education experienced by black communities have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” a released statement by The Teacher’s Lounge addresses. “Unequivocally, The Teachers’ Lounge believes that education is resistance and the greatest lever for liberation. It is our collective responsibility to pull on that lever with all of our might, so that we might empower our children with the most critical knowledge and opportunities needed to improve the condition of the world for all people, and specifically those who feel the sharpest edge of injustice and inequity.” 

Courtesy photo

Black educators, particularly those teaching at public schools with very little resources, inadequate facilities, lacking administrative support, and outdated curriculum, endure challenges that affect their abilities to reach their students due to the crippling affects of structural racism combined with the lingering effects of Covid-19 as a study by the Black Education Research Collective (BERC) points out.  

“With approximately 7.7 million Black students enrolled in the nearly 100,000 public schools in the United States (U.S.), the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and systemic racism on Black communities holds significant implications for the educational lives of Black children and youth,” authors of the study writes.

“Despite numerous calls to reimagine education, coupled with the devastating consequences the pandemic has had on the Black community, few studies have attempted to understand exactly how COVID-19 and systemic racism have impacted the social, economic, and educational lives of Black students and families across the country.” 

Featured Image: Photo by RODNAE Productions

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