Community Virtual School Support Center
RECOVIRSCE is a community virtual school support center, created in the middle of the pandemic to assist the vulnerable populations through a technology, learning & support center.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in our communities closed for in-person learning and continue to offer only virtual learning for many students. This situation has caused the most disadvantaged students to fall behind their peers of higher socioeconomic status in their ability to keep learning. To address the barriers to virtual learning for poor communities, vulnerable populations and populations whose speak English as a second language, the nonprofit Rebirth, Inc. proposes a center to provide access to virtual classrooms for children in these communities whose families may lack the technology and skills to continue learning in the new format from home.
Parents were not equitably equipped with the ability, knowledge and skills to support virtual learning in their homes. Many homes in this rural region also lack stable Internet connectivity necessary for virtual learning. The proposed virtual classroom support center will allow parents to continue to work outside the home while providing a safe virtual learning environment and child care option for vulnerable families most negatively impacted by the pandemic. The center’s staff and volunteers will be trained to provide virtual learning support to the public school system and accommodate students by giving them the ability to log into their respective school’s educational learning system.
Promoting earlier children’s education development is critical to motivate youth to engage in school and increase knowledge. Based on research on determinants and implications for adverse linear cognitive development growth outcomes in adolescence from low- and middle-income countries in their early years, psychosocial development among preschool children’s outcomes need additional educational resources and program.
Parents from disadvantaged communities have been contacting Rebirth, Inc. on a daily basis asking for support or help with their children during these challenging times. Compounding the technology and time issues, is the fact that there are populations whose primary language is Spanish or Creole. The Hispanic and Haitian communities have been hardest hit by the pandemic and are the most vulnerable to falling further behind in their education. People from some racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately represented in essential work settings such as healthcare facilities, farms, factories, grocery stores, and public transportation. Some people who work in these settings have more chances to be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 due to several factors, such as close contact with the public or other workers, not being able to work from home, and not having paid sick days.
The project is aligned with Rebirth’s goals: to strengthen, empower and protect the legal rights of the immigrant workers, refugees, including the most vulnerable in our community, on the path toward social adjustment. Advocating for fair treatment and policies toward immigrants and refugees, working at both the individual and community levels, helps them not only to survive but also to thrive in a this new country.
Our services are geared toward the vulnerable groups, such as minorities, immigrants, especially the Haitian American community. Services will not be limited to these populations. The provision of these services will be available to everyone. The staff and volunteers will be fluent in Haitian Creole, Spanish, English and French. This will serve to assist the diverse array of residents who may request assistance. This is critical, particularly in planned service areas where many parents don't speak English. It's very difficult for them to navigate the school system and get the support that they need for their children, so we provide that help.
The “homework gap” – which refers to school-age children lacking the connectivity they need to complete schoolwork at home – is more pronounced for black, Hispanic and lower-income households. Some 15% of U.S. households with school-age children do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, according to a previously published Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. School-age children in lower-income households are especially likely to lack broadband access. Roughly one-third (35%) of households with children ages 6 to 17 and an annual income below $30,000 a year do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, compared with just 6% of such households earning $75,000 or more a year. These broadband gaps are particularly pronounced in black and Hispanic households with school-age children – especially those with low incomes.
Some lower-income teens say they lack resources to complete schoolwork at home. In a 2018 Center survey, about one-in-five teens ages 13 to 17 (17%) said they are often or sometimes unable to complete homework assignments because they do not have reliable access to a computer or internet connection. Black teens and those living in lower-income households were more likely to say they cannot complete homework assignments for this reason.
For example, one-quarter of black teens said they often or sometimes cannot do homework assignments due to lack of reliable access to a computer or internet connectivity, compared with 13% of white teens and 17% of Hispanic teens. Roughly one-in-five black teens (21%) said they use public Wi-Fi to do schoolwork due to a lack of home internet connection, compared with 11% of white teens and 9% of Hispanic teens. And around a fifth (21%) of teens with an annual family income under $30,000 reported having to use public Wi-Fi to do homework, compared with 11% of teens in families with a household income of $30,000-$74,999 and just 7% of those living in households earning at least $75,000.
This program will provide much a needed safe, structured environment where at risk youth from vulnerable communities can focus on their schoolwork, complete their assignments, and get help from well-trained Recovirsce staff as needed. Parents are welcome and encouraged to come along and participate in the virtual assistance experience or can re-focus on their essential work with the peace of mind that their children are safely cared for in their virtual education supported center. Students can participate regardless of where they live or where they attend school. The program will offer Free and flexible options: single half days, two or three days (half day), daily (half day). The grant will help bring equitable access to education for marginalized populations who have experienced the greatest consequences of the pandemic.