The landscape of education has been altered in an unprecedented way by COVID-19. Across both the United States and the globe, countless students have made the transition to online learning. This new virtual reality is a unique experience for each student and educator. No matter the role, each person has needed to adapt. Many questions have arisen in the past months in regard to the connection between COVID-19, education, and finding a new “normal”. Furthermore, issues of class disparity and inequality have been at the heart of these intersecting topics. Who is benefiting or being put at risk from the learning format, virtual or in-person, that’s being carried out? What resources or lack thereof are putting certain students at an advantage and others at a disadvantage? What infrastructure must be put in place to best educate students in the midst, aftermath, and in preparation for future pandemics? Is virtual learning the future of modern education? In one way or another, these are all questions on the minds of citizens around the world in the face of COVID-19. Uniquely and disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are low-income students. Many low-income students do not have access to a computer or internet at home, so they are forced to rely on the school to provide it for them. Some schools have the resources to give out computers for their students, but not all districts do. Low-income schools do not have enough resources to give every student what they need for a virtual learning environment, like a laptop or an internet provider. This alienates children who live in low-income neighborhoods from their peers because they might not be able to effectively attend classes virtually.
Many children are also reliant on meals provided by the school. Children who do not have food security at home often look forward to 1 or 2 meals during the day at school. These children suddenly find themselves without a significant portion of their daily meals. Without being in school, the children do not have a way to get the things they need that can’t be provided at home. So, children who do not have a computer at home or who are food insecure go without. We may be unable to see all the ways children are impacted during this pandemic, but the problems are undeniable. Although many children are putting their best efforts forward to learn online, there will inevitably be those that are left behind. This may be because of a lack of resources provided to them or a positive environment to learn in.
While many are missing essential daily needs like breakfast or internet access, they are still giving all that they can to have a successful year. We need to be doing everything we can to ensure the children who are learning virtually stay connected with their teachers, their peers, and their potential. If like many students, you are feeling like you are missing a connection between you and another member of your community because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 7C Lingo can help bridge that gap. Visit our website at www.7clingo.com to learn more about how we are helping our clients, interpreters, and partners to stay connected to their community during this time of social distancing, even if they have cultural or linguistic differences.