CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A new program by a nonprofit that works to keep students in Chicago Public Schools aims to help both students and parents during the pandemic.
Communities In Schools of Chicago launched a TeleSupport system to help families who are feeling the stress of COVID-19 and its impact on students, who have transitioned to remote learning — an added burden for some who do not have direct access to internet, materials and resources to keep learning from a distance.
"(The TeleSupport system) is for parents struggling with figuring out how to understand what the expectation of their students are, how do they manage behavior, deal with the stress of perhaps losing their own jobs while trying to care for their families," said Celia Lozano, chief program officer for Communities In Schools of Chicago.
Lozano said the system is also designed to help parents figure out how they can support academics for their children now at home. With help from their children's teachers and other academic professionals from the 31 CPS schools the nonprofit works with, the call line acts as a counseling and coaching tool.
By calling (312) 829-2475 during normal business hours, parents can get a variety of support, which is available in English, Spanish, French, Hindi, and Kreyòl. Services are provided by CIS of Chicago’s experienced team of mental health experts.
"We are working with principals, educational leaders and support staff to make sure the parents know this is a resource available to them," she said.
Lozano said the TeleSupport system is already fielding a number of calls from parents on ways to cope with stress, anxiety and economic insecurity during this difficult time.
The resource is one of five other action plans the nonprofit is taking to ensure families. The nonprofit is also making sure to continue to deliver virtual 1:1 support of students around social-emotional wellness and academics; host virtual gatherings to support 200+ community service providers and our city-wide network of schools; provide principals and school leaders with coaching, guidance, and resources to support students; and rally community awareness around short- and long-term emergency needs.