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Coronavirus Pandemic A Struggle For Older NYC High Schoolers

She has no time for schoolwork — so Maira Ramirez feels a pang of guilt when her phone buzzes with class assignments while she’s working double shifts at a kosher market to support her financially-strapped family during the pandemic.

Since the coronavirus hit and her mom lost her job as a cleaner, Ramirez has worked 12- to 14-hour shifts many days to help cover her family’s financial gaps. Sometimes she gets to work at 9 a.m. and isn’t able to get to bed until 1 a.m.. She has hardly a minute to spare for the remote learning assignments she needs to graduate this June.

Ramirez’s impossible juggling act illustrates a desperate situation for older students across the city, especially in its poorest neighborhoods: Many high school students have taken on new responsibilities in the pandemic, from extra work to caring for siblings. Educators worry the most vulnerable students will lose their grip on school.

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