Survey Finds Returning to School Uniquely Challenging for Latino Families

Jul 9, 2020
9:25 AM
Originally published at Latino Decisions

Joel Cruz of the Des Moines Public Schools cleans a desk in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By Gabriel Sanchez

LOS ANGELES, CA — A new survey has found that a majority of Latino families in the U.S. are considering not enrolling their children in school due to the fear of COVID-19. Survey respondents also expressed inability to provide fully functional distance learning due to lack of internet access, devices, and updated software.

The study found 53% Latino parents or caregivers are considering not sending their children to school or childcare this fall. Meanwhile, 83% of families are worried their students are falling behind in school. The survey, conducted by the national research firm Latino Decisions in partnership with Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, is the most comprehensive national study of Latino families regarding COVID-19.

“One of the biggest questions facing school systems across the country right now is how to make learning accessible to all students—without risking their health,” said Adrián Pedroza, National Director of Strategic Partnerships with Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors. “These survey results clearly show that Latino families, especially those in rural areas, don’t have the support or access they need to use online learning tools. Their children are falling behind. We need better solutions now if we’re going to build an equitable education system, and families are telling us what they need.”

The survey found that Latino families welcomed proactive solutions: 84% requested more personal contact with teachers via phone or video calls; 83% support a mix of school attendance and distance learning; and 75% support extending the school year to help their children catch up.

Half of Latino parents reported that they did not have enough computers, tablets, or laptops to support their family’s needs, and another 65% report difficulty helping their children because they were too unfamiliar with class material. Because of these difficulties with online tools and materials, 76% of Latino families are concerned that their children’s school will involve homeschooling this fall.

“Our hope is that policy makers and school districts will use these survey results to inform their approach to online and hybrid classrooms,” said Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, Principal at Latino Decisions. “There is an urgent need to adapt distance learning during and after COVID-19 to better support and serve Latino students and families.”

The full results of the complete survey will be released in August. See more information from the survey here: