Texas schools taxed by technology needs of virtual students

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Chloe Gonzalez is 9 years old. She loves math and science, and is a talented writer. But since March, she has fallen behind.

"Because of the pandemic, my daughter wasn't able to go back to school," parent Monica Maldonado said. "Then we had other struggles as far as getting her a good computer, internet. So some of the struggles then were technology. Because of the financial struggles, it was difficult to get something. "

Maldonado said her family became overwhelmed and stressed while on the waiting list for some of these items.

"I wasn't prepared to buy my 9-year-old a computer," she said. "I'm not the only one. Personally, I've seen people close to me. Family, friends, they're just struggling, too, there are so many of us on a waiting list. "

At first, she had no technology. Then off a waiting list, the Maldonados got a refurbished device that would not work with the educational software her campus used.

"Since these computers are loaners, they don't work properly or they load very slow," fourth grader Gonzalez said.

She is like untold numbers of students in southeast Texas who are struggling to keep up through no fault of their own.

DePelchin Children's Center is helping her family navigate these difficult times. They are partnering with ABC13 to identify and provide families in need with the technology that bridges the digital divide, made so apparent when COVID-19 became the driving force in the way we live, interact, and learn.

"Kids tend to fall behind and playing catch up is harder for them," said Priscilla Gonzales, with DePelchin. "Once things do get back to normal, I think a lot of teachers are going to struggle with the kids having to catch up. "

School districts throughout our area are taxed with meeting the sudden demand, but students are still on wait lists at some campuses for loaner devices. Districts tell us this only compounds pre-existing issues for at-risk students.

We know these are tough times for everyone. Virtually nobody Is immune from the hardships the pandemic has brought to 2020. But if you can, consider helping students like Chloe.

With your help we are raising funds to give devices to vetted families in need.

Every dollar donated will be restricted to the purchase of technology for kids served by DePelchin. Your gift will have a tremendous impact and will mean so much to our children and families that will directly benefit from your generosity.

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