The Impact of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Students

The COVID-19 crisis has a disproportionate impact on vulnerable children, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Low income families have limited or no access to internet services which severely limits the ability of students to participate in virtual learning and children with special needs may not receive the same level of instruction and assistance that they need to succeed.

JAMA’s June 16th 2020 article, “Protecting the Health of Vulnerable Children and Adolescents During COVID-19 Related K to 12 School Closures in the U.S.” examines the impact of reduced funding for free and reduced cost meal programs and school based health centers that provide free and low cost health services to vulnerable children. School closures have also limited students’ access to behavioral health services.

Additionally, they found inequities in the ability of children to access the internet and virtual schooling. The article goes on to indicate ways to mitigate the adverse health consequences, many of which we are already doing in California such as providing drive up access to free breakfast and lunch meals; and providing computers and mobile internet hotspots for lower income students to access their virtual classes.

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