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COMSA works to bridge gaps between families and virtual learning

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 10:49 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News has told you about the struggles many families are facing when it comes to virtual learning.

Now, we’re hearing from members of the Somali community about the unique challenges they’re facing as they navigate virtual learning.

Zeinab Omar has two kids in the Green Bay Area Public School District and says it’s been a struggle to get her kids to attend online classes.

Omar has been notified by her sons’ school that their grades are suffering.

“They [the school] called and talked to my son, they told him you have to start picking up your grades. I don’t know if his grades have improved, but I will talk to the teachers,” said Omar.

Those at COMSA, a nonprofit helping refugee families in the Green Bay Area, say getting parents involved in their children’s education has been the most significant struggle.

“A lot of them do not read English or write. So, when your child has homework, and you can’t explain to them or help them, it is a challenge,” said Adan Hurre, a tutor and mentor at COMSA.

The organization does work with the school district’s family engagement coordinators who echo these struggles.

They also say it can be hard for kids to find adequate space at home to concentrate on school work. Sometimes older siblings are left to help around the house while their parents are at work, or have to help younger siblings with their homework.

COMSA is trying to step in and help Somali families. With limited space and resources caused in part by the pandemic, the organization is not serving as many families they know need help.

“We want to increase the amount of employees we have, so we can have an effective way of dealing with the students. Make sure we have one person with each family, or with 2-3 families every week,” said Hurre.

Omar says her kids have been coming to COMSA for help, but is fearful for her children’s future if classes continue virtually.

“My son is in high school and if the school continues this way, I’m afraid my son will not graduate,” said Omar.

Her family did receive Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots from the school district to connect with their teachers to attend class and do homework.

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