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Low-Income Households Disproportionately Affected As Sacramento Schools Shift To Virtual Learning

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It's back to school but not back to class for Sacramento County.

A surge in coronavirus cases is forcing the Sacramento County Superintendent the public health department to recommend all 13 school districts keep their campuses closed in the fall.

"I think distance-learning is really going to challenge the most vulnerable. It will take us years, decades, to make up this lost learning," Cassandra Jennings, President of The Greater Sacramento Urban League, said.

Jennings said some students are more at risk than others.

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"Most of those from low-income communities and disproportionately black and brown students," she said.

There are more than 250,000 K-12 students in Sacramento County, and of those students, more than 60% get free and reduced lunch. But in the Twin Rivers Unified School District, it's much higher. Ninety percent of their students are considered low-income.

READ: Distance Learning Debate: Parents Torn As Districts Make Decisions To Distance Learn

The Twin Rivers district is working to close the education gap by providing 17,000 Chromebooks and two wifi buses that will travel throughout the district, approximately 84 square miles, giving internet to students and the greater neighborhood.

Dr. Kristen Coates is the Chief Business Officer for the district. Coates said Twin Rivers developed a partnership with Verizon that will give families internet for $10 a month. 

But with or without technology, learning from home is still a struggle for parents.

"I know I'm wearing many hats here. Being a mom, a cook, a principal, teacher. We're going to have to do this together and it looks like the virtual way is the way right now," Sacramento mom Ashley said.

The health department says the if people continue to social distance and the numbers go down, there is a chance students can return to campus, but only if it's safe.

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