Experts say local disadvantaged students could be left behind amid school closures

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — As schools close across Sacramento County, children who are socioeconomically disadvantaged will only face more challenges, according to experts.

While school districts close to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they have announced plans to make sure students get the meals they would normally have while attending school. But getting them their education will be more complicated.

“Everybody doesn’t have a device. Everybody isn’t connected to the internet in their homes,” said poverty and education expert Dr. Addie Ellis. “Everybody doesn’t have access to actually get to an internet hub.”

About 98% of the 2,016 students in Robla School District live in poverty and about 78% of all students in the Sacramento City Unified School District receive free or reduced meals. The socioeconomic disparity between students who need assistance and those who don’t might only get worse.

“That gap has the potential to increase because the other part is there’s no teacher there telling you, ‘Turn to page 25,’” said Ellis.

Although state law mandates education equity for students, the new coronavirus is challenging the education system’s ability to help students who need assistance.

After Sacramento announced it would step in to help kids in the separately governed SCUSD get food during school closures, FOX40 asked about city help for online learning challenges.

“All this we are going to grapple with this weekend,” explained Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We’re going to be meeting with all the superintendents.”

It’s a situation Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledges will be hard for the whole state to get its arms around.

“It’s a point of real concern,” the governor said. “Those that can do and those that can’t are unable. So, we’ve got to address that.”  

The following districts have provided lists of locations where families can drive by and pick up breakfast and lunch meals during school closures. Click each district name for more information:

Sacramento City Unified School District
Elk Grove Unified School District
Twin Rivers Unified School District
Center Joint Unified School District
Galt Joint Union Elementary
Natomas Unified School District
Robla School District
San Juan Unified School District

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