For Undocumented Students, Coronavirus Pandemic Brings Learning Disruptions — and Economic Panic — With Few Avenues for Help

By Mark Keierleber

An undocumented Honduran immigrant reads her Bible during self-quarantine with her family on March 30, in Mineola, New York. (John Moore/Getty Images)
In efforts to control the outbreak of COVID-19, The United States-Mexico border at El Paso, Texas, was closed to nonessential traffic at midnight on March 21. (Paul Ratje/Getty Images)

‘Afraid to seek out testing’

For Rio Djiwandana, who teaches third grade in Brooklyn, New York, the pandemic has created uncertainty for some of his students and their parents. As the city’s schools transitioned to online learning, many of his students lacked computers and internet access at home, and their parents struggled to use technology.

An undocumented Honduran immigrant, 4, sick and isolated with his family for the past two weeks, stands inside his bedroom window in Mineola, New York, on March 30. (John Moore/Getty Images)

‘That’s what scares me’

As immigrant youth simultaneously adapt to online schooling and work to support their families, Vanessa Luna, co-founder and chief program officer of ImmSchools, said it’s important for teachers to recognize the trauma many of their students carry. To help out, ImmSchools is seeking donations to provide rent and food assistance through May to 40 families in New York and Texas. But more is needed, she said.

The 74 is a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America.

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