05/06/2020

Returning to school after COVID-19, how do students feel about this?

The plans for Arizona schools to possibly reopen in-person classes at the beginning of the next school year are in the works.

The Arizona Department of Education announced a task force is working closely with the Arizona State Board of Education, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Governor’s office to create a reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

ABC15’s special reporting project, The Rebound Arizona, is asking students if they feel safe about returning to the classroom.

“I would be in favor of going back to school with masks,” said Edwin Calzada, an 8th grader and radio host at “El taller del Fua” a bilingual radio show for kids in Phoenix.

Even when Edwin Calzada had a physical school to go to, you could find him hosting his radio show on Saturdays, but the radio is different these days with very different topics.

“Some of the things are that maybe they don’t have enough funds to support their families,” said Calzada.

Few resources, no WiFi, a lack of computers at home, are just some of the issues Calzada says he keeps hearing from his audience.

For him, he says, it’s the fear of going back to a regular classroom too soon that worries him the most.

“If one of my friends gets coronavirus that’s something that can affect all of us,” said Calzada.

Calzada says he’s concerned about how schools would enforce social distancing in classrooms with over 30 students or even just walking in the hallways.

While he waits for answers to that question, he says, it’s important to look at the present. Calzada believes districts need to help students like him finish this year strong, in his case, by providing bilingual resources for people like his parents.

“I get confused with some problems, and I would like to ask them, but they don’t understand either,” said Calzada whose parents only speak Spanish.

“There are tips parents can use to help students at home,” said Veronica Iñiguez, a Valley teacher and bilingual mentor.

Iñiguez, a mother of five herself, knows first hand how difficult it can be for some parents, but she says helping kids to do math or read even if it’s in Spanish is already helpful.

“They know how to add, they know how to multiply, you can help them using what you know,” said Iñiguez.

For Iñiguez, communication between parents and teachers is key.

“Communicate any struggles, communicate what your child is doing right. Where does my child need to be? How can I get my child there? And what is the first step I can take,” said Iñiguez.

You can find a list of bilingual resources parents can access for free here: 
https://www.khanacademy.org/math
https://www.starfall.com/h/
https://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/letter-tiles-app/

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