Breaking Barriers: Help for Miami-Dade Kids Struggling To Connect

10-year-old Yermin kept hitting a roadblock trying to troubleshoot for his family

Online classes are a sudden way of life for students across South Florida, but there can still be roadblocks for kids who have smart devices at home.

10-year-old Yermin Sanchez-Feliz has had trouble connecting to his virtual third grade class this week. Looking at icons on his school-issued tablet, he said, “We don’t know which one to click on.”

His 5-year-old sister Yeidy hasn’t been able to connect at all.

“It’s the same thing,” he said.

Yermin’s mom doesn’t speak English, so her son usually does the troubleshooting.

Fortunately, help in three languages is a phone call away. Staffing that line for only her second day, Dunia Villanueva helped the family figure things out.

“It’s not just a learning process for the community or for the students and parents, it’s a learning process for all of us,” said Villanueva. “This is on-the-spot problem solving, so we do need to be able to think outside the box.” 

With distance learning, every kid’s bedroom, every dining room table, every couch is turning into a classroom. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports.

For Yeidy, Villanueva helped set up a new email account when Yeidy’s mom’s address wasn’t working. Her brother Yermin was able to chat about his assignments with his 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Kimberly Fordham.   

“For the very young students,” Fordham said, “if their parents are not, you know, comfortable with using the technology, for these kindergarteners, first graders and second graders, it can be very difficult for them and their parents to log on.”

Now, both Yermin and Yeidy are back on track.

You can reach Miami-Dade Schools’ distance learning helpline 305-995-4357 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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