By Reema Amin for

A couple of months into the pandemic, Marleny De La Cruz lost her job as an office cleaner. Shortly after, her husband lost his supermarket job near their East Harlem home. She told herself there would be a silver lining: She could spend more time helping their 10-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter navigate remote learning through the tail end of the 2019-20 school year.

Being home full-time, however, didn’t solve the biggest hurdle for De La Cruz, who only speaks Spanish. Communicating with her children’s schools remained exceedingly difficult.

It wasn’t until this spring — nearly a year later — that her daughter’s high school in Queens set up De La Cruz with a translator during teacher phone calls, she said.

“It was really frustrating this year, and I’m still really unsure about what they did and what they didn’t learn,” De La Cruz said in Spanish through a translator. “I, as a mother, felt that I should have done more, and it was really upsetting and depressing to try to go to a meeting where you’re not going to understand anything about your son or daughter.”  Continue reading

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