When Erica Flores Baltodano heard that schools in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District were closing indefinitely to help stop the spread of COVID-19, she knew some students would struggle more than others.
"Right now, a lot of our families are going to be impacted severely by school closures," Baltodano told New Times. "And we're all going to be inconvenienced."
Baltodano is a mother of two San Luis Coastal students and a board member with the San Luis Coastal Education Foundation, which was created a few years ago to help provide the district's teachers and students with necessary resources and educational opportunities. In recent weeks, she played a key role in launching the foundation's new School Closure Impact Fund, an effort to help the families and students that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
Community members who are willing and able can donate to the fund through the foundation's website, and then the foundation will release those funds to the school district to use in providing necessary resources to students.
The situation is changing on a daily basis, so Baltodano said it isn't exactly clear what the district's families need help with yet. But about 40 percent of San Luis Coastal's students are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged, she said, and the district will likely need to provide several families with computers, Wi-Fi, and other supplies so that the students can participate in online learning. The fund will also likely go toward providing housing help, extra counseling services, and ensuring food security.
"So the foundation is really wanting to support the efforts of the district to ensure that none of the kids fall through the cracks at this unprecedented time," Baltodano said.
Although Baltodano couldn't say how much has already been raised through the fund, she said the community support has been wonderful. The foundation plans to keep the fund open for at least the duration of the coronavirus shutdowns, and Baltodano said no amount is too small. Even her two kids donated their most recent allowances, she said.
"If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's really taught us that we're all in this together."
If you'd like to donate to the School Closure Impact Fund, visit weblink.donorperfect.com/school_closures. If you're in need of help, contact the Family Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 596-4033. Δ