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Urban News Staff Reports

Education equity organization Our Turn conducted a survey of high school and college-aged students to understand how the pandemic is affecting their personal and educational outcomes. The COVID-19 Student Impact Report outlines the intersectionality of issues students are experiencing in the wake of COVID-19.

More than 235 responses were recorded from high school and college-aged young people across 13 different states. 82% are people of color, and a majority identify as current or future first-generation college students. The report contains student recommendations in order to ensure equity for all young people.

“The complex issues students have identified in this report illustrate the systemic barriers to education that have long been hindering the potential of America’s young people,” said Mohan Sivaloganathan, CEO. “We can’t accept a status quo where the pandemic exacerbates racial and economic inequities, and students are left powerless to shape decisions.”

Mental health, financial, food and housing insecurity, and educational equity needs were repeatedly identified throughout the responses captured from students. These sentiments are in direct relation to the recent academic changes, including disconnection from the physical school environment and implementation of e-learning vs. classroom instruction.

Highlights of the survey included:

  • 65 percent of students surveyed reported that their mental health has gotten worse, resulting in serious consequences.
  • 37 percent of students surveyed reported that they are facing financial insecurity along with food and housing insecurity.
  • 64 percent of students surveyed reported that they are concerned about missing major milestones (like prom, graduation, etc.).
While remaining realistic about the challenges ahead, students are optimistic. They identified critical needs for themselves and communities, and remain hopeful that inequities in society and in the educational system will be addressed.

“Only through the leadership of young people can we address and reconcile these critical challenges and rebuild our education system with an equity lens so students can have the opportunities they deserve to succeed,” Sivaloganathan said.

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