ONME News narrates the story of the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic aftermath on K-12 ethnic students
In the post-pandemic era, where people are learning to live with the different COVID-19 variants, and surges still persist in California this winter season, the aftermath of the coronavirus has proven to be more deadly economically for business, people of color, and especially California’s struggling, public school system. ONME News tells this story in a five-part docuseries called, “Brewing Within.”
The Brewing Within series is partially funded by the National Association of Black Journalist – NABJ Black Press Grant; ONME News was chosen as one of the grantees to help reveal the K-12 experience in the state of California in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The series reveals the struggles that teachers, administrators, and parents went through trying to navigate through the school system during and after the state of California March 2020 shut down. It also reveals the damage done to students, especially students of color and/or impoverished students, although the state fully reopened June 15, 2021.
About Episode 1 of Brewing Within
The almost nine-minute episode 1 of “Brewing Within” tells the dramatic story of the state of California as it enters the pandemic, as well as the aftermath. From fear to lack of information to misinformation, approximately 39 million residents did not know they were about to be impacted by a novel virus in one way or another.
Narrated by ONME News publisher, Julia Dudley Najieb, this initial episode brings the audience into the story of what was happening with California schools, K-12 as the pandemic ravaged the state of California.
In 2019, schools were doing business as usual; until the first case of a person testing positive for COVID-19, Jan. 25, 2020 in Orange County became breaking news, being the third case nationwide, the concern level hit everyone’s radar. The person had traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the infectious disease outbreak and came back to California according to the Orange County health dept. Cases continued to rise thereafter. California hung in the rafters trying to stay afloat above the coronavirus that was inflicting residents throughout the state.
In April, CalMatters reported on the significant drop of student enrollment in the California public school system; this is a first time since the start of this century. The California Department of Education announced that student enrollment continues to drop at faster rates than before the pandemic.
For the better part of a decade, public school enrollment was in steady decline in California mostly due to a lack of affordable housing, education officials across the state said. When the pandemic reached California, early job losses collided with that trend, making the decline worse.