Dubbed “crisis teaching,” “distance learning,” “emergency instruction,” we have come to know the last few months of the 2019 to 2020 school year by many names. The current health pandemic has brought new equity considerations to the fore, such as lack of access to online learning, challenges to teaching multilingual/EL students online, and the sudden halt of services usually provided by individual education plans. However, it has most successfully brought entrenched inequities that existed prior to the school closures into sharp focus. Wealthy families were more prepared and more protected under shelter-in-place orders, while low-income families, mostly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), continue to risk their lives as essential workers whose jobs cannot be completed from home1 . Without access to necessary services provided through schools, some parents of students with IEPs saw their child’s education suddenly halt, while teachers of these students dealt with the pain of the sudden loss of in-person connections with their students. The mental and physical burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has landed on the communities who were most in need of resources prior to the pandemic.
Think of a situation where you felt you belonged. What was that like? What made that happen for you? Consider a time