Struggling with cost of distance learning, many parents in Tijuana ask that school year be suspended

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Unlike Nicolas and Natalie Santiago, many school children in Tijuana don’t have laptops or Wi-Fi connectivity for distance learning. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Frustrated parents who lack the resources to buy computers, laptops and Wi-Fi connections are asking school administrators in Tijuana to postpone the current school year and start anew next year.

They say distance learning, which has been implemented due reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools, has created more problems than solutions.

“Truth is they should suspend the school year. Kids aren’t advancing at all being in school and it’s turning into a traumatic experience for the kids and their parents with the children battling so much,” said Estela Ramirez. “There are thousands of students affected by this virtual learning.”

Ramirez says she struggles to supervise her 6-year-old granddaughter since the child’s mother has to go to work.

She says her family never budgeted for a cellular phone that provides an internet connection. To make matters worse, Ramirez admits she knows very little about computers and the Internet.

“I need to learn a lot about computers. Most of the time, I can’t even open the programs and it takes time to get the child logged in, and she’ll be late because of me. The teachers are also struggling with weak Internet signals,” Ramirez said.

Others shared similar frustrations.

Blanca Gutierrez, a mother of three, said her kids aren’t learning from home and she supports the postponement of the school year.

“We’d be affected by the cancellation of the school year, but I feel in spite of everything they won’t learn the way they should. In all honesty, everything is really simple for my kids. I was hoping for more. It’s all add-and-subtract, easy stuff,” Gutierrez said.

Public schools in Tijuana account for 680,000 elementary school students. It’s not known how many have access to technology to help them with their learning.

School officials have said that as of now, they are not considering putting off the current school year.

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