November 18, 2020
Few families will feel the impact of public school closures more than parents and children in homeless shelters, where internet access is spotty and students are in danger of falling further and further behind as classes again go fully remote.
“I feel bad for the people in shelters,” said Colin Shamel, who used to stay in a shelter with his 6-year-old son. “The online classes do affect the parents because we have to make sure our kids are doing their schoolwork.”
But that’s no easy task inside shelters, where WiFi is nearly non-existent for more than 20,000 children, he said.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said shelter residents were top of mind in the city’s remote learning plan. He decided to close schools when New York City’s 7-day average positive rate reached 3 percent — a shutdown-triggering threshold the Department of Education established in September.