On August 4, 2020, the New York Junior League joined Advocates for Children of New York and other organizations in New York City to send a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio asking that he prioritize the educational needs of students who are homeless, as part of the city’s plans for reopening schools this fall. We urge the educational leaders to offer students who are homeless full-time, in-person instruction or, at a minimum, ensure they have a space conducive to learning where they can access remote instruction and adult support on days when they cannot be in school, and to provide transportation to school as legally required.
When the Department of Education moved to remote learning last spring, many students experiencing housing insecurity were left behind, lacking sufficient access to technology, a safe place to spend the day, and an environment that nurtures learning. When schools reopen, these students will need a space where they can focus on learning and have access to dedicated instructional support five days a week, not just the one to three days of in-person instruction, as currently outlined in the city’s school reopening plan. These children will also need reliable transportation to get to school, as more than half of families entering shelters are placed in a different borough from where their youngest child attends school.