Amid the COVID-19 situation, the New York Junior League is still identifying ways to serve our community. As New York City schools adjust to the new normal, educators settle into remote teaching, and students grapple with a new, ad hoc way of learning, more than 100,000 students who are homeless might not have the same opportunities to learn.
This week, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) opened up Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) to provide safe child care to students whose parents are first responders, health care workers, and key transit employees. Yesterday, the mayor added the children of grocery store and pharmacy workers to the list of children eligible to enroll in a REC.
However, the 114,000 children experiencing the daily trauma of housing instability are not eligible to enroll. The NYJL signed on to a letter, organized by Advocates for Children, urging the mayor and the DOE chancellor to open these enrollment centers to students who are homeless, so they may have access to reliable technology for remote learning and the space to focus on their lessons, with the help of a volunteer DOE educator. The letter also requests that the the DOE expand enrollment eligibility to the children of shelter workers.