OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has made it official: Children are not going back to classroom this school year, which poses a particularly difficult challenge for many parents.
At a small kitchen table in a modest home in south Omaha, Dina Lopez’s children are doing school work. There’s no computer and no internet connection; the cost is simply out of reach.
“It’s been hard having them here at home without the internet,” said Lopez. “I especially worry about the older ones.”
Monika’s in eighth grade; her sister Clara is in ninth. They are both well aware they’re missing out when it comes to learning online.
“To me, I feel it’s unfair because some other students can keep up with the work and us over here not having the internet,” said Monika.
Prior to the pandemic, they found workarounds; not ideal, but they got by
“Sometimes I did stay at school to finish work after school,” said Clara. “Or sometimes we would go to my mom’s work because they have computers there.”
Dina’s work is no longer an option; it’s been cutoff by the crisis. The children share two smartphones, offering a limited glimpse into the online world.
Seven-year-old Douglas has a hard time understanding why he can’t just go back.
“I want to go to school,” he said. “I want to learn math because that’s the favorite part. It helps you learn and make your brain grow bigger.”
Omaha Public Schools is doing its best to connect families with Cox. The company is offering a program aimed at making broadband affordable for low-income families.
Still, Lopez can’t help but fear her children might fall through the cracks.
“I’m worried they won’t be able to keep up,” she said. “And that they won’t pass to the next grade.”