A Shortlist for Schools and Parents on How to Survive COVID-19

As with any natural disaster, catastrophic event, or unforeseen change, the impact on marginalized communities and communities of color is multiplied due to centuries of subjugation and oppression which has led to lasting inequities in our society. This time with the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is, unfortunately, no different. 

If we take New Orleans as an example and look at the data that our Data Center provides, you can see that the hospitality and tourism industry is our number one industry. You can also see that the income disparities amongst folks that work in that industry are tied to race, with white people vastly outpacing people of color in income. Our hospitality industry is getting hit hard at this time, with several restaurants closing and therefore laying off their workforce, which in New Orleans means Black and Brown folks. 

What happens when our service industry workers of color have lost their jobs and are now balancing that stress on top of caring for children who would otherwise be in school with meals and technology provided for them? Unfortunately, we’re living in that reality right now. 

Several folks in the education and activism space have written pieces about how COVID-19 is illuminating disparities. Others have curated resources for parents and schools on how to make the most of this transition. 

 Digging through resources is a job on its own so below I’ve done some of the work for you and provided brief summaries of a few I’ve found helpful. 

For Schools:

Covid 19 Response Strategy-Mini Equity Audit: Beloved Community’s free webinar assists organizations and schools in assessing their Covid 19 response strategies to ensure their strategies are centering equity in their plans and decision-making, especially during moments of crisis and uncertainty.

Schoolrunner Webinar – Learning While Schools Are Closed: Resources for Distance Learning: Three New Orleans schools outline how they moved quickly to serve students and families in transitioning to virtual classrooms.

Equity Isn’t Just About Technology. It’s About Supporting Students and Families: Here’s what drew me into this interview piece: “Nearly 30 million low-income students rely on schools for breakfast or lunch, leaving schools scrambling to make new plans. Fourteen percent of households with school-age children do not have internet access, most of which earn less than $50,000 a year. And research indicates that students from low-income backgrounds could fall further behind their peers if learning stops too long and the country sinks into recession.”

For Parents:

Raising Race Conscious Children: This website has amazing resources for adults and parents seeking ways to talk about race and identity with youth. Now is a great time to lean into these conversations with your children, as Covid-19 is highlighting how identities impact experiences and disparities.

Supporting Families During COVID-19: A great place for daily videos and free resources for parents. Parents can even sign up for daily email tips for parenting through Covid 19.

Tips for handling work and kids during COVID-19 isolation: This article shares tips for how to explain the pandemic to your children, and how to create stability during this time.

Liberate Meditation App: This is the only meditation app by and for the Black and African Diaspora. They offer free guided meditations, organized by topic and how you’re feeling. Many are kid-friendly, too!

I urge you at this time to lean into empathy for your neighbors, youth and colleagues who are experiencing multiple intersections of oppression during this time. Lead with love and grace in this moment, and if you’re a leader of a school or organization, please continue to prioritize equity and inclusion in your policies and practices. Now is not the time to sweep those initiatives to the side in exchange for quick fixes and urgency. Be kind, practice gratitude, stay inside, and we’ll all get through this together.

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