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These kids are getting left behind when schools go online

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

As schools prepare to reopen online, parents are stretched thin and millions of students aren't equipped for distance learning.

Burnett says she lost her job in April after asking for time off to pick up a school-issued laptop for her youngest daughter.

"With them doing distance learning, I have no way of knowing if I can keep a job, and what kind of hours I can work," Burnett says.

"I don't feel like my children learned anything (last spring)," she says, and she fears the new school year, which starts August 17, will bring more of the same.

And parents like Burnett who spoke with CNN say they're worried for their children's futures as the school year approaches.

Carmen says she's frustrated and doesn't know what to do once the school year starts up again.

Because of that, Lopez says her daughter and countless other students missed days of learning.

But she says while her husband is still working, she's had to leave her farmworker job to take care of their kids during the pandemic, and their family is struggling to make ends meet with far less income.

But things could play out differently in the new school year, thanks to additional planning time, says Jennifer Darling-Aduana, an assistant professor of learning technologies at Georgia State University.

David Lopez, a school administrator in Houston, says making sure students had access to computers and high-speed internet was a challenge when classes shifted online last year.

Lopez says one family he works with was forced to make the decision to cut off their internet over the summer because they couldn't afford it.

Many students who require extra assistance in a traditional classroom, such as English-language learners or students in special education programs, didn't get that as the pandemic forced a rapid shift to virtual learning, says Darling-Aduana of Georgia State University.

Darling-Aduana, who's worked with schools to help them develop better online education programs, says she's spoken with some families who've seen improvement in their students' learning at home.

Burnett says her daughter does seem more relaxed about learning at home and might flourish with a more structured distance learning program, but she worries that schools are so focused on the big picture they aren't considering how to help students with special needs.

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