Work or Online Learning? Families Experiencing Homelessness Face Impossible Choices

Remote learning can be difficult for children without an adult at home to supervise everything from logging on to the learning itself. The past six months have put all parents and caregivers in a bind, but many families who are homeless now find themselves in an impossible situation.

“How do you choose between working and providing for your family, and your child’s education? I mean, what is your priority?” says Patricia Rivera, a former Chicago Public Schools social worker and founder of Chicago HOPES For Kids, an afterschool program for homeless youth.

Rivera points out that many homeless shelters don’t allow parents to leave their children while they go to work. In the past, kids have simply gone to school or parents have found low-cost childcare. But, because of the pandemic, those options have disappeared for many families.

Parents and caregivers experiencing homelessness are also more likely to work low-wage

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An Impossible Choice For Homeless Parents: A Job, Or Their Child’s Education

The closure of school buildings in response to the coronavirus has been disruptive and inconvenient for many families, but for those living in homeless shelters or hotel rooms — including roughly 1.5 million school-aged children — the shuttering of classrooms and cafeterias has been disastrous.

For Rachel, a 17-year-old sharing a hotel room in Cincinnati with her mother, the disaster has been academic. Her school gave her a laptop, but “hotel Wi-Fi is the worst,” she says. “Every three seconds [my teacher is] like, ‘Rachel, you’re glitching. Rachel, you’re not moving.'”

For Vanessa Shefer, the disaster has made her feel “defeated.” Since May, when the family home burned, she and her four children have stayed in a hotel, a campground and recently left rural New Hampshire to stay with extended family in St. Johnsbury, Vt. Her kids ask, “When are we going to have a home?” But Shefer says she

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Work Or Online Learning? Homeless Families Face An Impossible Choice : NPR

Freda and her 9-year-old son visit the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati. She and her five children have been living in the front room of a friend’s apartment, sleeping on pads of bunched-up comforters.

Maddie McGarvey for NPR


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Maddie McGarvey for NPR

Freda and her 9-year-old son visit the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati. She and her five children have been living in the front room of a friend’s apartment, sleeping on pads of bunched-up comforters.

Maddie McGarvey for NPR

The closure of school buildings in response to the coronavirus has been disruptive and inconvenient for many families, but for those living in homeless shelters or hotel rooms — including roughly 1.5 million school-aged children — the shuttering of classrooms and cafeterias has been disastrous.

For Rachel, a 17-year-old sharing a hotel room in Cincinnati with her mother, the disaster has been academic. Her school gave

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Poor internet makes online education impossible in rural Alberta

ST. ALBERT, ALTA. —
Rural parents are frustrated and feeling left behind as poor internet connections make working and learning from home impossible.

Lisa Rosales and her family live in Sturgeon County. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they found they couldn’t even get an internet provider to give them service, stalling efforts to learn and work from home.

The Rosales family moved out to the Calahoo area more than 10 years ago and never needed an internet connection at home. That all changed when schools closed and her two children were suddenly homebound.

“Our kids were sent home and we had no means to teach them,” Rosales said.

Rosales reached out to companies in her area but was denied an internet connection because the only tower nearby is full. The family had no choice, though – internet had become a necessity in order to teach their kids from home. They

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Special needs students and teachers face hurdles that seem impossible

Students, parents and teachers across the country are all struggling to navigate school in the age of coronavirus.

But for special education classrooms, including students with learning differences as well as developmental and physical disabilities, the challenges are even greater — and sometimes, insurmountable.

In March, when her 10-year-old son’s school abruptly sent students home, Caren, a mom in Wayne, New Jersey, quickly realized she was in over her head. Her son Mark has cerebral palsy and a visual impairment and typically receives multiple therapies at school. Caren, a psychology professor who asked that her last name be withheld for family privacy concerns, didn’t know where to start.

special needs, special education, COVID-19 and schools (Photo by Paul Mango)
special needs, special education, COVID-19 and schools (Photo by Paul Mango)

“When we went to distance learning, I became the one-on-one (aide), I became the special education teacher, I became the speech therapist, the teacher of the visually impaired, the occupational therapist,

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