New CDC report shows disparities in in-person learning by region, state and race
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that “disparities in full-time in-person learning by race/ethnicity existed across school levels and by geographic region and state,” underscoring the importance of prioritizing access to in-person instruction for the 2021 school year.
The report tracked school instructional models used across 1,200 school districts from all 50 states and the District of Columbia between September 2020 and April 2021.
For Minnesota, the analysis was based on a total of 227,000 public school students. It found that over 50 percent of students only had virtual instruction during the timeframe studied. Students of color were nearly 12 percentage points more likely to have had virtual-only instruction compared with white students.
Reduced access to in-person learning is associated with poorer learning outcomes and adverse mental health and behavioral effects in children.
One of the limitations of the study, according to its authors, is that it assessed access to different learning models and not how students actually received instruction. Even with this, the results of the report highlight the importance of efforts to provide all students access to full-time in-person learning, the authors conclude. And, that it can be done safely.
Evidence suggests that many K-12 schools that have optimized prevention strategies have safely opened for full-time in-person learning and remained open.