Parents Of Latino Children Fear Virus Disproportionately Affects Their Kids

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By Kassidy Arena, courtesy of Iowa Public Radio News

As Iowa schools start with a state mandate that at least 50 percent of instruction be in person, parents are faced with the difficult decision of where to send their children. Parents of Latino children have made difficult decisions during a pandemic that disproportionately affects them.

Anjuleah Knutson has three children with her husband, who is Latino. They live in Hardin County and decided not to enroll their children in in-person classes.

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With new studies coming out that show Latino children are more likely to experience severe symptoms, Knutson said the best choice for her kids was enrolling them in Iowa Connections Academy, a public online school. She said it was difficult making this decision without more direction from state leaders.

“I wish there was more leadership in that sense that would take in not only all parts of the state into consideration but all people groups, all races, all ethnicities,” Knutson said. “Because we’re not dealing with one person, we’re not dealing with one set of people and it affects everybody differently.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, five percent of the county is Latino.

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Zoey Knutson, 7, said she is excited her parents signed her up for online school, 

but she’s worried her friends will contract the coronavirus. She has some advice for them.

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“Stay healthy, use hand sanitizer and wearing a mask,” Zoey said.

Knutson said as a mother of three Latino children, sending them to a crowded school was a scary thought.

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“My husband and I had the conversation of like we’re just going to have to do what’s best for our family and not care about what anybody else says, not care what anybody else does,” Knutson said. “If the school does something we like, great. But if not, we have a plan and we can execute our plan.”

Knutson said her family is fortunate enough that while she and her husband work, the kids can continue online school in the care of their grandparents.

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