Many Houston parents struggling to teach their children at home

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Keisha Kennedy is struggling.

She's a single mother of two children, ages 7 and 13, who does hair for a living. Because of the pandemic, there is no work, and school for her children has moved to their apartment.

But, not to a computer or tablet or any other device, because Kennedy does not have one of those or even high-speed internet. Instead, her children's lesson plans come in paper packets, in the mail. Her 7th grade daughter has not received her latest packet yet. Kennedy worries they are falling behind.
"Them not passing to the next grade. Not having the right things for them to continue their education. It bothers me a lot" she said. "I just really need some guidance."

Kennedy's children attend The Varnett Public School-Northeast Campus on Mesa Rd. It's a charter school with 5 locations. Of the 1475 students in all, 785 of them are receiving paper packets. That's more than half. A spokesman said they are still working out the kinks of their educational delivery system and encouraged Kennedy to call the campus director.

Last month, ABC13 reported more than 180,000 households within HISD boundaries don't have a computer and 38% of HISD students don't have access to high speed internet.

Kennedy knows she's not alone.

She's inquired about loaner laptops. She has borrowed a neighbor's computer. She has searched out broadband elsewhere.

"Obviously ,the libraries are closed. I've been to Worksource. They're closed. I've been calling them to see what I can do," Kennedy said.

With weeks longer of distance learning to go, she hopes her children can still catch up.

"I really hope, in situations like this, the schools would provide more than what they're doing."

On Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the city was partnering with Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook and non-profit, Comp-U-Dopt. They donated 650 computers to students in need.

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