Schools across New York State remain closed to help control the spread of the coronavirus, but these closures are having a big impact on a segment of the student population.
Monday morning marks another week of online learning for millions of kids across New York State. But for kids in foster care, this marks another week of potentially being set back even more in their education.
Advocates say that keeping schools closed until the end of the year will cause the students to miss out on much-needed support to help them succeed.
“Who's there during the course of the day to make sure that Johnny or Mary is in fact, attending to their classes? Let's not kid ourselves: Even on the best day, this remote virtual learning is not what being in a classroom is,” says New York Foundling President Bill Baccaglini.
Advocates believe that, with these students missing out on a third of the school year and much-needed support, the educational gap will grow even wider, which could cause them to possibly drop out.
“The likely scenario is that kids are, all kids are, just going to get promoted to the next grade,” said Baccaglini, "after having missed really a third of a school year.”
Supporters believe that increased one-on-one mentoring and additional learning incentives will help offer support to kids to help them overcome the difficulties of online learning through the pandemic.
“I think we can do some things during summer to actually get some of these more needy kids to catch them off and get them to support that they need,” says Baccaglini. “We have school teachers that might be interested. We can add a sweetener to their pension, we can pay them at their rate, and we can at least start to catch up those kids that not only are at greatest risk of falling behind, but it's the consequences of the risk.”
They believe that if they concentrate on high school freshmen and sophomores, they have a better chance of making sure they stay on track.
“Make the investment now, because if you don't make the investment now in these young people, these are the young people who are going to wind up, find themselves in adult systems that they just may never get out of,” says Baccaglini.
During a briefing Sunday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he had not made a decision on whether or not New York schools would stay closed for the remainder of the school year.