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An Equity Lens

Below is a list of helpful tips and resources, as we adapt to "a new normal" in the era of COVID-19. Not only has this global pandemic challenged us to rethink ways we interact with one another but also the way we support colleagues and learners through new approaches and teaching methods. Be sure to download or utilize the resources for building your knowledge and skills. 

Using a trauma informed approach to teaching

  • Be mindful of the different ways a crisis impacts the community, and how students from different identity groups (race, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation) may have different responses to a situation.
  • Remember, all student circumstances are different. Advocate for students who may have fewer resources. Many students rely on schools to provide basic needs such as meals, emotional support, health resources and oftentimes safety.
  • Be understanding and patient with students when communicating remotely. Do not assume that everything is fully understood.
  • Share daily positive, encouraging feedback to students and their families.
  • Experts from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network share their recommendations for educators supporting students during the COVID-19 crisis.

Essential employees

  • People of color are also more likely to work in “essential” jobs and earn lower wages that put workers in close contact with others who might be in poor health and may not be able to socially distance from peers.
  • Support front line workers by small acts of kindness, and words of affirmation. Managers should ensure front line staff are given time for personal responsibilities, and rest.
  • Advocate for staff that may have fewer resources and less likely to hold positions which allow them to work from home.
  • Be kind and understanding regarding expectations. Continue to treat everyone with respect, and listen and observe with intentions as you allow others to express their concerns, and worries allowing them to feel visible and supported.
  • See Some groups suffer more: Health Disparities and COVID-19.

Speaking up against racism

  • Do not use terms such as “Chinese Virus,” “Kung Flu” or other terms that has the potential of encouraging hatred toward Asian communities, and do not allow the use of these terms by others. Refer to the virus as either “COVID-19” or “coronavirus” in both oral and written communications. See How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism.
  • Reject racism, sexism, xenophobia and all hateful or intolerant speech, both in person and online. Be an "up-stander," and discourage others from engaging in such behavior.
  • “Upstanders” are allies, supporters, and advocates for people and communities that share a different background or identity than one’s own. Here is a resource guide that to use as an exercise with your colleagues or students.
  • See Combating bias and stigma related to COVID-19.

Technology and accessibility

  • All students may not have access to technology, computers, or needed software to complete assignments. Address the inequities by reaching out to your students to access their level of access to technology. This will inform the technology usage for your courses.
  • Ensure web accessibility for students with disabilities when using online learning or remote instruction.
  • Ensure course materials are mobile-friendly. PDFs are more accessible for students, especially those who may rely on screen-readers. PDFs also adapt to different devise and cell phones more readily than other software programs.
  • When possible, offer flexibility or alternatives to students when access is an issue.
  • Watch the video Short Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility by the U.S. Department of Education.

Additional resources

  • Kaiser Family Foundation (May 1, 2020). Taking stock of essential workers.
  • Teaching Tolerance (March 23, 2020). A trauma-informed approach to teaching through coronavirus.
  • University of California (2020). Equity and inclusion during COVID-19.