As our country continues to wrestle with the damaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and school closures become the norm nationwide in an attempt to slow the spread, millions of students are dealing with uncertainty. Kids and families everywhere are facing difficult changes to their daily lives, but one group in particular is suffering profound loss from the systemic closure of our schools: children and youth experiencing homelessness.

For children and youth experiencing homelessness, schools are much more than classrooms. School is often the most stable and secure part of their day, a place that — quite unlike where they sleep at night — does not change. Early childhood settings and schools may also be their only source of food, education, health and mental health services, caring adults and safety.

While educators and institutions continue to reassess their policies and make adjustments to ensure that disruptions are as minimally damaging as possible over the coming weeks and months, it’s critical that we center the experiences and realities of students who are homeless in response efforts.

Children and youth experiencing homelessness often stay in crowded, precarious situations with other people that make it impossible for them to self-isolate, or to recover should they fall ill. And moratoria on evictions don’t prevent families and youth from being kicked out when they are not on the lease, or from fleeing dangerous environments. Children and youth experiencing homelessness also often lack access to Wi-Fi or technology necessary for online learning, or a quiet, stable place in which to learn. In short, if school coronavirus initiatives are predicated on a stable and safe home environment, consistent internet access or reliable transportation, they will not reach these students.

Read the full article about youth experiencing homelessness and remote learning by Barbara Duffield at The 74.