How one family is surviving without school while having to work during the pandemic

COVID and the Classroom

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Emilia Espinoza and her little brother, William, study three days a week at an academic lab at The Pointe-Ballwin Commons. It is a place for students to learn virtually when their schools are closed and their parents must work.

“Yes, I’m learning. It’s really fun. Why? It’s pretty simple,” Emilia said.

She says she’s got it figured out – a fifth-grader at Woerther Elementary in the Rockwood School District. She wants to go back to the classroom but she’s found a way to get the most out of virtual. 

“It really makes you realize you can do stuff by yourself. You don’t have to have your teacher there,” she said. “It helps you persevere. Like if you’re stuck on a question and there’s almost nobody around, you have to work it out yourself and that really helps you work out stuff.”

Her mother Meredith Espinoza is an essential worker. We thought she’d be upset that school’s closed, but to our surprise, she said she’s glad.

“To be completely honest, I felt better that Rockwood made the decision for me, but I was also glad to know that the Pointe was going to offer a safe small setting where my kids could be supervised and I could work,” Meredith said. “Doing what’s best for our community is being what a patriot and a good citizen is. Is it easy? No. Do I like it? No! But I want to do what’s best for us overall.”

She feels her family is turning their sacrifices into a positive experience.

“It’s going well. My daughter gets a little stressed because she doesn’t want her little brother to get behind and nobody does it right, except for her,” Meredith said. “So, it’s been awesome to see her step up like that – like a big sister.”

Emilia said she likes her schedule.

“It really allows me to make sure I can – I usually complete my work before William does and that gives me the chance to help him do his work,” she said.

Though mother and daughter both expressed being overwhelmed, they also said they feel good about finding a way through it.

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