NTI return could mean more digital disadvantages for some families

NTI return could mean more digital disadvantages for some families

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - If the Jefferson County Board of Education votes to continue non-traditional instruction into the 2020-21 academic year, that could add to a lot of stressors parents are already facing as they try to juggle their work lives and being a parent.

Technology is in the hands of everyone, including the youngest ones of the household. However, when it comes to doing homework from home, that makes it a bit more of a challenge for everyone.

”Their normalcy and routine was completely gone,” single mother Mindie Renteria said.

The pandemic has been hard for Renteria and her 6-year-old son. She said not only because of the dangers it creates, but because Renteria has a lot on her plate. She is a mom, a teacher to her son, a nursing student and an employee.

”It was nearly impossible,” Renteria said. “When the school year was over, I was relieved and happy, (thinking) maybe the next school year they’ll go back to school. Of course, there’s a fear of kids getting sick and all that.”

Renteria said she’s been considering outsourcing for help; having someone home-school her son while she continues to be a provider for him. The last thing she said she wants to worry about is having the resources to make sure her son gets an education.

“I highly encourage them to look at opening the YMCA programs at a minimum for parents who have to go to work or work from home,” she said.

Other families are having a hard time, too. A JCPS heat map (pictured below) shows blue markings indicating students’ homes where WiFi and computers had to be provided during the first round of NTI. In some areas, there’s more of a cluster than other parts, which shows the lack of resources such as Chromebooks.

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This heat map shows students' homes where WiFi and computers had to be provided during the first round of NTI.
This heat map shows students' homes where WiFi and computers had to be provided during the first round of NTI. (Source: JCPS)

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio on Thursday recommended that the board vote in favor of starting the new school year doing NTI.

“We are working hard to ensure every student has a device, Chromebook and every student has connectivity,” he said.

The district said it is considering NTI to-go kits that will provide school supplies.

The board is scheduled to vote on Tuesday.

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