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School Health and Safety

COVID-19 Shines Spotlight on Inequities, Especially in Our Schools

Schools are at the heart of every community, and they need more funding and resources to focus on, and overcome, inequities.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our way of life. It has altered our routines, separated us from our communities, and shined a spotlight on inequities. Parents, children, and educators everywhere have come face-to-face with those inequities while navigating the uncertainty of returning to school safely.

Schools are at the heart of every community, but not every school or district has partnerships with global health experts where they can ask questions, get help with securing donations, or receive assistance operationalizing guidance in the ever-changing world of a pandemic. In communities where inequities already exist in health, funding, employment, information, or resources (or the ability to access them), those disparities disproportionately impact the schools.

Helping the school system

The Global Health Crisis Coordination Center (GHC3), a division of the Center for Global Health Innovation, has partnered closely with an inner-city school district in a low-resource zone of Atlanta over the past year. The students and families in this district face multiple impediments to learning, including limited access to affordable healthcare services, online resources, and economic opportunity, as well as food insecurity and other challenges.

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In working with this school system, our global health experts identified four key areas from the CDC Considerations and Guidelines for Schools to be the categories of greatest need when addressing the inequities in this school system: health and safety, technology, learning environment, and communications. To get schools the assistance they need, GHC3 has helped procure significant donations in these categories, working closely with the schools to answer questions about COVID-19, assisting teachers and administrators with communicating COVID-19 information to students and parents, and facilitating dialogue between the school, CDC, local health departments, and community partners.

A K-12 Playbook on has been developed through these partnerships that focused on inequities, helping schools to operationalize safety guidance and mitigate COVID-19 transmission. Supporting schools in this manner allows the teachers and administrators to get back to the important work of educating our youth, providing for their families, and minimizing the inequities in their communities.

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