What is it about?

During COVID-19, lockdowns meant schools had to shift their classes online, which affected many students. This study looked at whether income level and race made any difference to families’ experiences coping with the pandemic. It focused particularly on families with school-age children. Parents’ employment status, perceived consequences of school closure, and routines for guiding their children’s learning at home were explored among families of high-, middle-, and low-income levels and among White parents and parents of color. Low and lower-middle class parents as well as parents of color experienced more significant and economic challenges such as employment status changes and barriers to working remotely. Middle-class parents were the least likely to have clear structures and routines to guide their children’s learning. Parents of color (POC) were the most likely to have these, but were more unlikely to be able to work from home due to the nature of occupations common with POC (having higher exposure to infections and proximity with others). Higher-income and White parents were more likely to report that school closure had been a major problem for them, being especially stressed over structuring home learning environments and planning educational and physical activities for their children.

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Why is it important?

Although the COVID-19 virus itself affected people of all nationalities, race, status, the findings reveal inequitable consequences of the pandemic for low-income families and families of color. These patterns exemplify the need for social disruptions due to COVID-19 to be considered in the context of pre-existing vulnerabilities in families such as racism and marginalization, economic hardship, and history of adversity. KEY TAKEAWAY: Schools and communities should further assess and address the specific challenges and difficulties facing diverse families to provide appropriate support for them.

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This page is a summary of: Impact of the 2020 pandemic of COVID-19 on Families with School-aged Children in the United States: Roles of Income Level and Race, Journal of Family Issues, March 2021, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0192513x21994153.
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