As vaccinations across the nation increase and states reopen, families are looking for a return to normalcy. However, in the wake of research highlighting how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide, a series of school surveys recently released by the U.S. Department of Education show large disparities in what students are still learning remotely and what students are learning in person.
As of January and early February of 2021, 43% of elementary students and 48% of middle school students in the survey remained fully remote. The statistics get more interesting when broken down by race. The survey found: 68% of Asian, 58% of Black, and 56% of Hispanic fourth-grade students were learning entirely remotely, while just 27% of White students were.
The survey also found that nearly half of white fourth-graders were learning full-time in person, compared with just 15% of Asian, 28% of Black and 33% of Hispanic fourth-graders. The remainder had hybrid schedules with both in person and remote instruction. Additional inequities were found to impact students with disabilities, many of whom benefit little from virtual learning.