Monday December 14, 2020

Efforts made to mitigate problems of distance learning

Imagine a child who is staying home alone during the day because their parent or guardian has no option to work from home. Imagine an older child being tasked with taking care of his or her younger siblings for the very same reason.

Imagine children growing up in a house where nobody speaks English or with no understanding of the technical skills needed to assist their children with online learning. Imagine children being hungry, depressed or feeling hopeless, neglected or physically abused.

Imagine all of these things happening in our city.

As difficult as it is to accept, these things are occurring every day in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Public Schools is providing 100% distance learning through the end of the year and likely at least for the first few weeks of January 2021. The district has distributed devices and hot spots to provide digital equity throughout the district, but the piece that is much more difficult to solve are the issues mentioned above.

Far too many children are not accessing online learning regularly and their welfare is in question.

Teachers and staff members have made an organized effort to reach out to families by phone, text and email since school buildings closed last spring.

OKCPS recently launched Routes to Resources as a way to provide face to face connection with students and families. School buses with staff members will go into neighborhoods, school parking lots and even through home visits.

All kinds of resources will be provided, including technology assistance, books and learning materials, hygiene items and even mental health service access and HOPE Program information.

The pandemic has affected all of us, but none so much as our children. Even more so for children in lower socioeconomic status. We must remember the Oklahoma Standard. We must remember that these are our kids.

Read Foundation President & CEO Mary Mélon’s original Oklahoman editorial.

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