As our daily routines have come to a grinding halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, our full and active lives pre-pandemic seem like a distant dream. For now and into the near future, we will no longer be able to hang out with friends, go to work and socialize with our colleagues, go to the movies, travel, and so much more. These restrictions, coupled with the looming threat that we or our loved ones might contract the virus and get sick, are having severe psychological reverberations throughout our communities.
However, those of us who have the ability to work from home, have health insurance, have some savings, have a car, have a computer and online access are incredibly fortunate. Imagine what it is like for those living on the edge of poverty, with no job security, no paid sick leave, no car to drive to buy groceries, cramped living quarters, and minimal access to health care. The majority of our Horizons families are in this situation.
For them, pre-pandemic life was difficult and filled with a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Now that the world has stopped, these underserved communities have few resources to turn to. These are the communities that will be severely impacted by this crisis.
Horizons during COVID-19
Looking at our Horizons at Colorado Academy students in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, this pandemic is exacerbating the disparity we see in education. Everyone working in education is very concerned about the gaps in learning that are going to happen as a result of schools shutting down.
Just as most of our Horizons students wouldn’t have anything to do in the Summer except watch television and play video games were it not for our program, I am concerned that most of our students will default to this behavior during the shutdown. In an effort to help families create a schedule, our own lead Pre-K teacher Jessica Nuñez created this schedule, which we posted on social media.
Without knowing what the future holds, we are making contingency plans for the Summer. Now, more than ever before, our Horizons program is vital for our students. It is too early to tell in what form that will take place, but we are working to figure out how best to serve our students and their families. These uncertain times call for creative solutions. The Horizons at Colorado Academy team is up for the challenge.