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Former CDC director says without additional resources children of color will be 'disproportionately affected' as schools reopen

Former CDC director says without additional resources children of color will be 'disproportionately affected' as schools reopen
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Children of color will be disproportionately affected by school reopenings amid the coronavirus pandemic if  additional resources are not in place, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Richard Besser said Sunday. 

“If we’re not intentional about making sure that doesn't happen it will happen,” Besser, the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a pediatrician,  said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” 

Besser said death rates for Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans “far surpasses their proportion of the population.”

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He added that schools in the U.S. are funded mostly off property taxes, which he said will allow wealthy communities to make adjustments to schools that are “necessary for that to be safer places” for children, staff and teachers. 

“That’s very expensive. It takes looking at your air flow, making sure you have enough classrooms so you don't need as many children in each class and they can socially distance. It means hiring staff who can decontaminate classrooms and disinfect them every night and staff to screen staff and children every morning,” Besser said. 

“In low income communities schools have been under-invested for generations,” he added.  “Without additional resources, we will see children of color, black and brown children, disproportionately affected as schools start to reopen.” 

The Trump administration has been pushing for schools to reopen in the fall amid surging coronavirus cases across the U.S. and warnings of the safety risks posed by bringing children back for in-person instruction. 

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Education Department moves to reverse Trump-era rules on campus sexual misconduct Watchdog says DeVos made nine figures in outside income during Trump years MORE has threatened to withhold funding from schools that do not offer options for in-person instruction.