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Asian American Pacific-Islanders (AAPI) Family Survey Findings and Recommendations:

In summer 2021, the CAFE team partnered with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) family leader to develop and disseminate a survey to learn about AAPI families’ reflections and thoughts on school reopening in fall 2021. The survey, translated into Chinese, Korean, and Urdu, resulted in nearly 500 responses from over 20 states. 

When asked what topics were most important for educators to consider as schools reopen, survey respondents identified the following key topics: 

  • Support students’ social, emotional, mental health 
  • Prepare for virtual or hybrid options if COVID numbers rise; 
  • Support students’ academic needs; 
  • Communicate with AAPI families in a language they understand; and 
  • Train educators on discrimination that AAPI children may experience. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging experience for us all. Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, in particular, have experienced heightened xenophobia and hate crimes because of the anti-AAPI rhetoric during COVID-19. To better understand AAPI families’ thinking on school reopening, the CAFE team partnered with AAPI family leaders in summer 2021 to develop and disseminate a survey: “Asian American Pacific-Islanders (AAPI) Family Survey: Reflections and Thoughts on School Reopening.” The survey, translated into Chinese, Korean, and Urdu, resulted in nearly 500 responses from over 20 states. 
 

The purpose of the survey was to learn about AAPI families’ experiences during the pandemic, gain insight into their challenges and concerns as schools reopened, and identify ways that educators and schools could support families. The team found that nearly 40% of survey participants were either “uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” about returning to school in the fall. Most cited the spread of COVID-19 as their reason for concern. Participants’ primary concerns also included schools not being prepared to handle outbreaks, no vaccine for children under age 12, the rise in delta variant infections, the low vaccination rate in the school community, and AAPI children being harassed or bullied as virus carriers. 
 

While the survey was specific to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities’ experiences, many of its findings and recommendations can be applied to students and families who are not AAPI. There are, however, key topics identified that are unique to immigrant experiences, including language access for timely, two-way communications; and training on discrimination against AAPI students and families. 

When asked what topics were most important for educators to consider as schools reopen, participants identified the following key topics: 

  • Support students’ social, emotional, mental health 
  • Prepare for virtual or hybrid options if COVID numbers rise; 
  • Support students’ academic needs; 
  • Communicate with AAPI families in a language they understand; and 
  • Train educators on discrimination that AAPI children may experience. 

These observations provided an insight into AAPI families’ perspectives on school reopening and outlined ways educators can support students and families.  

Based on the findings from the AAPI Family Survey, CAFE recommends that educators and family engagement coordinators do the following: 

  • Get to know the families in your school community through one-on-one meetings, focus group meetings, and surveys in multiple languages; and provide ongoing, two-way communications using apps AAPI families use such as WeChat, Kakao Talk, What’s App., or the communication methods parents prefer. 
  • Provide timely and effective language access: Set aside a budget for language access that includes translations and interpreting services and stipends for community liaisons to do community education. Identify organizations that support AAPI families, such as faith-based institutions, ethnic organizations, cultural centers, language schools, and other AAPI family organizations. 
  • Educators-families-community partners and leaders co-design outreach to AAPI families based on key topics families want educators to consider. 
  • Provide ongoing professional learning opportunities for educators regarding AAPI students’ and immigrant families’ needs.
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