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Ways Low-Income Areas Are Getting Help With Remote Learning

Ways Low-Income Areas Are Getting Help With Remote Learning

Remote learning is becoming more common, but the children of low-income families are facing more obstacles to education. When parents are working, they have less time to help kids with school work; when parents lose their jobs, they can’t afford technological equipment or Wi-Fi. There’s been no real solution, but there are some ways low-income areas are getting help with remote learning, thanks to their communities.

Community Centers

Since the pandemic started, community centers have adapted by switching from after-school activities to daytime learning. They’re providing internet access, child supervision, distanced quiet workspaces, schoolwork help, school communication, and basic help such as teaching kids how to log on and create passwords. Parents who drop off their kids can get help with clothing, counseling, food, financial aid, and more. Community centers that were previously considered recreational are being recategorized as essential.

Online Groups

For families that do have Wi-Fi, or at least temporary access, they’re finding resources through online communities that are better than their options at home. Free Facebook groups and Instagram pages offer advice and links to services that can help, and YouTube educators are serving as free substitute tutors. Online forums can connect low-income families to affordable care, educational tips, and alternatives such as “pods” that organize learning in small groups.

Wi-Fi on Wheels

At the urging of their communities, schools are bridging the gap for students who can’t even connect with schools from home. When kids can’t get to school, physically or virtually, school can come to them, thanks to new bus technology. A school district in Jackson, Michigan, has spent $65,000 to turn their buses into Wi-Fi hot spots. The idea is to drive to areas where 35 percent of their students don’t have connectivity at home, so students will have free access to classes. They park in neighborhoods from 9:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and the buses’ signal has a range of 150 to 300 feet. So far, they’re deploying 15 buses of their fleet of 52.

Organized community efforts have been the most effective ways low-income areas are getting help with remote learning, and they’re inspiring other communities to do the same. Until schools can address the disparities, low-income parents don’t have anywhere else to turn.