Giving Compass’ Take:
• Refugee families and their children, in particular, experience loss of resources, services, and stability since COVID-19 has disrupted traditional school schedules.
• How are school districts taking into account refugee families that rely on support services and structure that classrooms offer? What can donors do to help schools support these children?
• Read about supporting immigrant communities during COVID-19.
When the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to pivot to remote learning, Nawar Almadani and her family weren’t sure what they’d do. Her three kids were enrolled in middle and elementary school; she was working toward her GED. They didn’t own a laptop, and even when they got two from school — one from the city for the kids, the other from Almadani’s program — they had to share.
Beyond the struggles all families are facing with remote learning, the Almadani family is dealing with additional stress: They fled Syria as refugees, and resettled in Chicago in 2016. They, like many refugee families in the U.S., face a litany of additional obstacles to remote learning, including language barriers, access to technology. And although many refugee families are doing their best, they risk falling behind without the special resources and support provided by the school.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, refugee children in primary education are lagging behind their peers globally. Refugee children frequently grapple with mental health issues and trauma due to displacement, war, and conflict. For many of those refugees, a quality education often serves as the only source of stability in their lives and an eventual key to a successful future.
When Covid-19 halted traditional schooling, this source of stability for refugees was also upended. In the U.S., the lack of in-person schooling meant a lack of access to resources and human interaction needed to practice English. Schools are also childcare centers, access to meals and nutrition, a source of support for vulnerable children, and a hub for socialization.
“When you switch to remote learning, very few school districts had any of those accommodations for people who might need particular support,” said Rebecca Winthrop, co-director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution.
Read the full article about stability for refugees by Rowaida Abdelaziz at The Hechinger Report.
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