BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — High school seniors will graduate this year in less than ideal conditions. That’s why a group of education leaders is working to make sure COVID-19 does not become the barrier that affects their future college plans
"Schools should be in proactive outreach and in touch with students through out the summer," said Judith Lorimer, Director of #DegreesNYC.
The Education Trust–New York is trying to support high school seniors who will be transitioning to college - the pandemic itself making things difficult enough as their senior year had been cut short.
"The structure of learning and academic teaching that have vanished within the blink of an eye. Technical stress and difficulty such as limitations in feedback, and disconnection with no engagement or interaction," said Nana Fofana, a senior at Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science.
"As much as graduation and prom being different, I think that might be one of the most challenging parts because that's our next chapter of our life. So starting it in a different way is kind of scary," Lauren Granieri, a senior at Niagara Falls high school.
One barrier affecting many students is finances.
"The reality of being poor, the reality of not having all the resources they need to connect with the system and trying to keep up," said Samuel Radford, Co-Chairperson of We the Parents.
The Education Trust said it asked the state to set clear expectations on how schools districts can help students with access to financial aid services.
Another barrier is communication with teachers and counselors. Students not only need academic resources, they also need social and emotional support.
"The school districts need to be available during July and August. We can just no close our doors and say you graduated, the year is over, you don't need to come back," said Dr. Edwin Quezada, Superintendent at Yonkers Public Schools.
Despite the many difficulties, Nana Fofana wishes to share this piece of advice with other seniors.
"You may endure challenges, hiccups and losses, but that's alright. As long as you pick yourself up and keep trying that's you biggest win,"said Fofana.