A Homeless Family Navigates a Life Warped by the Coronavirus


Two of the children, Jazmyn, 14, and Dakota, 10, were still asleep — no school meant no routine. It also created new headaches.

Ms. Goode’s daughter Miriah, 12, had not taken a required quiz, one teacher said in an email. Ms. Goode found that the quiz was never sent to the laptop the school had issued Miriah. The teacher said she would resend it. Then there was another issue to resolve involving her son, Ethan, 9.

Many homeless children, who already face additional challenges at school, do not have access to reliable internet service, meaning they will not be able to effectively learn at home during the outbreak, said Jennifer Erb-Downward, a senior research associate at Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan.

“The gap that we already see educationally is really going to be magnified,” she said.

Ms. Goode said her children could access wireless internet in their room. But without a physical school as an outlet, she said, they are growing frustrated.

“They can’t do anything, they can’t go anywhere, they can’t go outside,” she said. “I can’t take them anywhere, because we’re on this quarantine.”

The school recently called Ms. Goode, asking why she had not been picking up free meals for the children. Ms. Goode said she could not afford the Lyft ride.

“It will cost me more to get there to pick them up than it will to just buy them something to eat,” she said.

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