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Disparities In Iowa's Schooling Options Found In CDC Study

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A CDC study found students of color have less access to full-time, in-person learning than non-Hispanic white students in most states, including Iowa. It found this may be due to multiple factors including COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released research findings about disparities in learning access among K-12 students. It found non-Hispanic white students in Iowa are more likely to have access to full-time, in-person schooling.

The study looked at students with access to different modes of learning from January to April of 2021. The modes included full-time/in-person learning, a hybrid model and all-virtual. It found full-time/in-person learning steadily increased starting in January of 2021 for all racial ethnic groups.

"Reduced access to in-person learning is associated with poorer learning outcomes and adverse mental health and behavioral effects in children," the study summarized.

It estimated students of color in Iowa on average have about 7.1 percent less access to full-time/in-person school than white students. It's noted "students of color" includes any student who is Hispanic and/or not white.

The study cautioned this kind of disparity may lead to future educational disparities between white students and students of color. It concluded Hispanic students in the U.S. have overall the lowest percentage of access to full-time, in-person school at 59 percent with access. They follow behind 63 percent of non-Hispanic Black students and 75 percent of non-Hispanic white students with access to full-time/in-person school.

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In the study that ran from Jan. to April 2021, the CDC found 59 percent among Hispanic students K-12 had access to full-time, in-person schooling in the U.S.

The research also showed evidence of students of color in Iowa having more access to online and virtual learning.

"Some evidence suggests that families of color are less likely to opt in to full-time in-person school, even when it is an option, because they are more likely to be concerned about their child contracting COVID-19 and about students not complying with COVID-19 mitigation practices in schools," the research found.

COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have disproportionate rates within communities of color.

Further, it stated there is growing evidence that an all-virtual learning approach can be challenging for many students, which could lead to losses in education and worsening mental health for both the students and the parents.

The CDC recommends schools should focus on providing safe in-person school options to increase equitable access in learning. That includes increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in schools and other efforts to reduce community transmission.

The research results were concluded from representative sample sizes from each state.