NYC students of color are less likely to return to school buildings this year, new poll finds

By: Reema Amin ,  Chalkbeat New York
October 28, 2020

Fear of contracting the virus, coupled with the country’s long history of institutional racism, has sown distrust, said Noliwe Rooks, a professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University. Even though there is some evidence that shows schools can reopen safely in most parts of the country, she pointed to the virus’ toll on people of color. In the spring, Black and Hispanic New Yorkers were dying at twice the rate of their white and Asian neighbors.

“Parents are just like, ‘We are poor, we are of color, we know the city doesn’t care about us,’” Rooks said. “Right or wrong, that is how they feel.”

Rooks, who said the city should focus its efforts on improving remote learning, added: “If your school is honest-to-god safe and there is just fear out there, then you need to do a better job of communicating with parents.”

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Professor Noliwe Rooks