VIDEO: Rey Saldaña, President and CEO, Communities in Schools, interview KABC-TV in Los Angeles, CA

(Arlington, VA, Friday, August 7, 2020) – Educators, students and families are faced with a “historically chaotic” return to school this fall. When school starts, kids will already be disconnected and distressed. Most still won’t be able to set foot in their school buildings. Even if students learn in person a few days a week, schools will be expected to enforce masks and social distancing — huge changes in how kids and teachers interact that while necessary, will surely be stressful and difficult for all.

That’s a tough environment for educating students and ensuring every child can succeed, especially in the Black, brown and low-income communities most impacted by the pandemic. Schools and their community partners need to start preparing now to reengage kids in learning so that children don’t fall so far behind they can never catch up or drop out entirely.

The best way to do that is to be there for students — not just by meeting them where they are academically but also by addressing the basic needs and psychological barriers that can hinder some kids’ ability to do well in school even in “normal” times.

Administrators, teachers and community partners must start planning to help provide food, clothing and shelter to students whose families were economically disadvantaged during the shutdown. They must also help kids catch up and get reengaged in learning whether it takes place inside the school building or at home. Finally, they must be prepared to assist with mental health services because of the emotional trauma some students are still feeling.

Communities In Schools understands how that work must happen. For more than 40 years, it has worked inside schools across the country providing resources and supports to students so they can stay in school. They partner with businesses, volunteers, agencies, healthcare providers and educators to help students succeed.

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