Testimony of Matthew Hanson, Chief of Staff of DC Action for Children
Before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee of the Whole
Joint Public Roundtable on Reopening District of Columbia Public Schools
With over 34,612 cases and 864 deaths to date, the impact the pandemic has had on the District has been tragic. We know, however, that COVID-19 has hit Black and brown, and low-income residents the hardest, exacerbating just about every social inequity, including in education. While Latinx residents are only 11% of the population, they are 21% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19. And while Black residents are 45% of the DC population, they're 74% of the COVID-19 deaths, as of January 20.
There is still a lot that we do not know about the spread of COVID-19 among children and youth. Vaccines have not yet been tested on children and won’t be approved for months. Now, as a new strain emerges that is more easily transmittable, we strongly believe that we should not rush to return to in-person learning, especially when we can safely do so in the very near future.