Class Of COVID: Many Online Learners Have The Most To Lose

Feb 19, 2021

For most of this academic year, Gabrielle began her school day with a click. Then she waited to see if her classroom would appear.

"It's very confusing. … Sometimes the conference doesn't pop up,” said Gabrielle, a Black seventh grader at an Orlando middle school.

Even when she could log on, she said she wasn’t always able to get answers to her questions.

"I have to turn on my mic or type in the chat, and [teachers are] usually screen-sharing, and they're not on the page,” Gabrielle said. Florida Public Media is using only the first names of Gabrielle and her mother to protect the family’s privacy.

Nearly a year after schools around the country closed abruptly in an unprecedented effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, millions of kids are still learning remotely. National surveys have shown that many of these virtual learners are students like Gabrielle who face some of the greatest challenges to success online: low-income students and students of color.

Find the rest of the story here.

'Class of COVID-19: An Education Crisis For Florida's Vulnerable Students' WJCT News 89.9 Special

WJCT News 89.9 will air the one-hour radio special on "The Class of COVID-19" on Friday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. It will also be streamed on WJCT.org and in the WJCT app.

'Class of COVID-19: An Education Crisis For Florida's Vulnerable Students' Jax PBS Special

WJCT-TV 7.1 will air the one-hour TV special on "The Class of COVID-19" on Monday, February 22 at 9 p.m. on antenna TV channel 7.1, Comcast channels 8 and 440. It will also be streamed on Passport and in the WJCT app. The special will encore on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 5:00 p.m. 

WJCT.org is also running a portion of many of the stories.

WLRN education reporter Jessica Bakeman contributed reporting for this story.

This story is part of the Florida Public Media series, "Class of COVID-19: An Education Crisis For Florida's Vulnerable Students." Find the whole project — and sign up for our limited-run newsletter — at classofcovid.org.

“Class of COVID-19” is being produced through a partnership with the following public media organizations: WLRN (Miami), WGCU (Fort Myers), WFSU (Tallahassee), WUSF (Tampa), WMFE (Orlando) , WUCF (Orlando), WPBT/WXEL (Miami/Boynton Beach), WJCT (Jacksonville), WEDU (Tampa) and WUWF (Pensacola).

The project is supported in part by the Hammer Family Charitable Foundation and the Education Writers Association.