Another back-to-school hurdle: Students of color don't want to go back

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As schools prepare to reopen, Asian American, Black and Hispanic families are opting to keep their children in distance learning at disproportionately high rates. The reason? Many students live in multigenerational households and are concerned they may infect others in the home, like their grandparents or another elderly relative.

New York City has reported that Asian American students make up the smallest portion of children that have returned to classrooms.

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The same is true in Nashville public schools.

In Chicago, one third of Asian, Black and Latino students have returned, while two-thirds of white kids have come back.

As San Francisco schools prepare to reopen, we have found that many Asian Americans here are also following that trend.

"Going back to school is very dangerous, at home safe," expressed San Francisco Parent Lina Li.

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Falling behind while distance learning isn't just an academic issue. It can also be an emotional one, for both the student and the student's family.

Both the school district and the teachers union have conducted initial surveys with families confirming what we are now hearing.

"Rates of COVID are higher in communities of color and so there's fear of being out in public and possibly bringing COVID home. In particular, Chinese immigrant families who live in multi-generational households," revealed Susan Solomon, President of the United Educators of San Francisco.

Chinese families are also worried that their kids might face harassment in school after former President Trump made derogatory remarks like the "Chinese virus."

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"We are all coping with a different reality because our world has been turned upside down," said Jon Jacobo with the Latino Task Force. He's the first to tell you that many Latino families are also hesitant to send their children back to school for fear they might infect someone in their multigenerational home.

"We surveyed over 6,000 people and over 25 percent of those folks have known somebody who has died from COVID-19 or has been severely ill, you kinda of understand why there's a different reality when you are closer to the pain," added Jacobo.

As the legislature discussed the reopening of schools, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez posted this on Twitter,

"In communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, where everyone knows someone who has died vaccine access has been lower, there is justifiable fear."

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