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NON-ENGLISH SPEAKERS FACE CHALLENGES IN VIRTUAL LEARNING

Aporine Shabani escaped violence in Congo to find a better life for her children in Scranton.

As coronavirus cases surge in her new city, the refugee wants to help her sons learn virtually, but she can’t read the lessons.

“I’m really worried for what my children are missing,” she said through a Swahili translator last week in her West Scranton apartment. “How can I explain to my children when I don’t know English?”

As virtual learning continues in much of northeast Pennsylvania, including the Scranton School District, families struggle with technology issues and child care and worry about children falling behind.

For the city’s refugee community and other families not fluent in English, the challenges are far greater.

“It is heartbreaking,” said Sonya Sarner, refugee

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