ELL students left behind amid COVID-19 and virtual learning

ABC News’ Erielle Reshef details the concerns for both students learning English as a second language, and their families, as more schools turn to virtual learning.
7:24 | 08/13/20

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Transcript for ELL students left behind amid COVID-19 and virtual learning
With so many schools across the country beginning the academic year with remote learning educators are increasingly worried some students could slip through the cracks fall further behind. Particularly those learning English as a second language ABC's air arrest of takes a look at the challenges they may face this fall. Covic nineteen crisis forcing schools nationwide to grapple with how war is making it open safely. This photo of mostly massed close kids jam packed into a high school hallway and Georgia still being alarm. Nine students and staff they're testing positive this school moving all classes online. Some parents emotionally debating what should come next. What if worst comes to worse. School board members commit to contributing to go funding campaign of a couple facing medical bills that their son or daughter contracts until mid nineteen. Emblematic of the high stakes conundrum in education when some of the most vulnerable students like those classified as English language learners or ELL. Facing dire a fax. For Brooklyn seventh grader Jerry weak school here in the US in the best of times has been a challenge brought all my. Science and art classes were difficult to teach because of my language bear here. So I ended up telling the teacher at my son will only take English and math classes but now his mom says the cope mid nineteen pandemic is posing unparalleled obstacles to you will not be volatile and makes it harder for my son to ask questions especially when you have to take classes virtually with the rest of the classmates. With virtual learning becoming a new norm for any schools nationwide. The switch to this Greek just one more barrier children of non native English speakers already facing an uphill battle. I'm the do or don't. When he learned snack and doesn't understand he is unable to ask questions but I try to teach him I teaching the way out was tied in Korea. Then my son would tell me that this isn't the way his teacher taught him and the problems magnified for students with special meet Jerry has autism and his mom's and the major adjustment has rattled. Corzine can mount Davidson. But it is but the new housing bill. That round thing. Let the Indo there have he's delayed it. But he did this. John skiing and crying whining put on how Carter who believe temperature. And Cyrix family is not alone concerns are mounting that the 10% of public school students in the US who are identified as ELL about five million. Are considered at risk of being disproportionately. Affecting. No in person interaction or validation. In person one on one meant touring no peers to lean on remodeling support. And school year we were actually shut down. These the teachers' new parents. Knew the children the children newly teachers not yeah America. Kindergartens remnant never been school. With a teacher. At. They don't all so it's going to be EEE. Scallions horror ever agree teachers parents. Actually our students. Animals. Are English. It's a reality educators like Chicago principal Judy sorry say is widening existing gaps in education. Do you feel that students who are in the ESL program and get a terrible education while virtually. The market lies before. Not even larger. He's chill ran out not only the challenge of learning and Atlanta which. The culture. Not even worse for them. Even afford coping at the national level ELL students had a high school graduation rate of 67%. Compared to. 84% for their native English speaking peers. And the most recent data estimates that roughly 60% of the ELL come from low income families. We know that our Colin Campbell on. How she and you know and aren't. You here is an early hour. I'm going oh. You know. Central which. Shall what is what is role. And and you know I don't. Earning. Add to that a major shortfall in essential resource is like computers and Internet with ELL students less likely to have access cities vital tools we noticed a lot of. Closing her right arm and so. Turning to a lot of our mind you time. And can you eat was an issue as we are out. I. Six year old kindergarten or Tony Rodriguez doesn't have a computer at home he and his parents struggle with English language instruction. DP hit a difficult because he he we don't speak a lot of English we don't know English. And for handy communal Spanish. So when he starts school of stuff at him. Through the pandemic his family has turned to a local nonprofit said Tony wouldn't fall behind mentor Mary Beth Smith conducting lessons over the phone. Really vocabulary. And then I don't. Just now Irene none bear Xena just basic and build Eden had. You battle in the. In New York they have helped him into English and English because he you know lack English and now he knows a lot. Tony's mom says the personal attention has made all the difference. And it's not just volunteers like married that going the extra mile saris and many ELL teachers in her district are now working in overdrive. Some even spending out of any of their classes. I don't know teachers. Better. And I don't want ports. Channel 8 want to be. At this is a precious. And they all that you'll. It could EDS. And teachers are wary eat. What they are. Cinch and they're going on understand. It on instructional material. Being pretty sure shirt. And even signing on horses. With the enormous bird experts say comes a new opportunity to bright future for these kids. I really you. Arts. Re. Honored its old you know. Our senator our eighties. Or intentionally I think. Our. Students. Students of us are we see. You know out and beaten and Lee I really chatty and ask. And create new hope for families like Tonys and here is that even in these uncertain times they won't slip through the cracks. Aerial rash at ABC New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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