Investigating Compounding Impacts of Racism & COVID-19 on Learning & Employment in Computing & Technology (CIRCLE-CT)
AnitaB.org, The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and the STARS Computing Corps (STARS) are conducting a survey to understand the impact of the global pandemic on the conditions of work and educational environments related to computing and technical degree programs and professions. Through the Investigating Compounding Impacts of Racism & COVID-19 on Learning & Employment in Computing & Technology (CIRCLE-CT) Study, we are gathering responses from individuals across the computing and technical ecosystem including K-12 teachers; post-secondary program leaders, educators and students; and individuals in the computing and technical workforce and tech startup communities.
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic has quickly and substantially As the seriousness of the pandemic became apparent, governments issued stay-at-home orders in waves across the globe. Individuals who could, moved to work and study from home. Others continued to work in increasingly dangerous and uncertain workplaces or some found themselves without work or income. Particularly well-suited to remote work, many tech companies transitioned their workforce to working from home and have maintained this pattern. K-12 schools and institutions of higher education rapidly pivoted to online or hybrid models of learning but with great variation in methods. As the pandemic wears on, we are all grappling with the psychological and social impacts of social isolation and contracted lives. We conceived of this year-long collaborative study in April 2020 to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the computing community, including technologists who work in industry, those who work and study in the nation's colleges and universities, and those who teach computing in K-12 schools. Our focus was on how individuals and organizations were being impacted, and the potential implications for initiatives to broaden participation in computing (BPC). While our organizations' missions have always been about equity and inclusion in computing, we did not foresee how anti-racism and social justice would come to the societal forefront in summer 2020. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to disentangle the independent effects on BPC initiatives of these two forces, we knew that we could not study one without the other. Thus, in addition to asking about the COVID-19 pandemic, we included questions about the impacts of racial violence and the subsequent protests for racial justice to try to better understand the impacts of both on the computing community. The current report includes analyses from the first of three data-collection events, a survey fielded between July 14 and August 1, 2020 that was designed to assess and document the immediate impacts of the pandemic and racial justice movements on educational and work experiences.