Even though schools are back in full swing across the nation, the complications caused by the pandemic persist. They often fall hardest on the most vulnerable: families without transportation or people with limited incomes, people who speak English and people with special needs.
Coronavirus outbreaks at school and individual quarantine orders for students who are exposed to the virus can make it difficult for them to attend class on any given day. Many families aren't sure where to look or how to reach them.
Sometimes, driver shortages can lead to the school bus not turning up.
Keiona Morris, a McKeesport resident who doesn't have a car, had to leave her children at home when the bus did not arrive. She said that her two sons have missed two weeks of school because of these disruptions.
She said that taking her older son to school with the civic bus system would have consequences for her ability to return home in time to pick up her youngest child at elementary school.
Morris stated, "I feel like my kid is being left behind." "Sometimes, it feels like he isn't important enough to be picked up."
It's not a matter that the family doesn't have the resources to fix the problems in the public school system. Others are not informed about programs such as those that allow students to return to school even if they have been exposed to virus, provided that they do not test positive for infection.
While some students are able to keep up with school via remote access during quarantines, others may not receive any instruction or have no internet or other means of connecting.
Districts must consider the disproportionate burden when seeking solutions, according to Bree Dussault, principal at The Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington.
She stated, "If you're using a test to shorten quarantine then all students should have equal access to that test."
Morris didn't receive an email notice in the early morning that her son's bus was being canceled. Instead, she waited at the stop hoping for a ride.
Her children are more interested in learning when they're together than if she stays at home. She said that the makeup they did on the days when their bus was cancelled and they were unable to access the lesson the next day put them behind in class.
She said that her older son struggled with the transition from middle school to middle school. He also missed out on social aspects such as being with his peers.
Robert Balfanz, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, stated that the effects of unpredicted stretches at home can mimic chronic absenteism and cause long-term learning problems.