As campuses reopen, schools in Los Angeles County should devote special attention and resources to Black students, who are more likely to have been adversely affected by the pandemic and a host of other factors related to inequity, according to new research by the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools.

Shifting demographics in Los Angeles County have resulted in more Black students living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, higher pollution rates and poor health outcomes for residents, researchers found. The pandemic ushered in further hardships.

“The impact of the global pandemic on the education of Black students may potentially be devastating,” said UCLA Professor of Education Tyrone C. Howard, faculty director of the Center for the Transformation of Schools. “This new research can inform the strategic use of resources to address inequalities, racism, and historical disadvantage, and guide decision making to better serve Black students. … The long and persistent presence of systemic racism inside and outside of schools continues to affect the educational experiences and outcomes of Black students.”

The report recommends that schools regularly survey students about their needs; partner with local nonprofits to help students and families obtain health care, counseling, housing, food and other services; and provide tutors to help students catch up academically. It also concludes that schools need support from all levels of government as well as their local communities to enact these changes.

Researchers analyzed data from 14 school districts in Los Angeles County that each serve 800 or more Black students. It builds on analysis from a 2019 report called “Beyond the Schoolhouse: overcoming challenges and expanding opportunity for Black children in Los Angeles County.”