CUNY

Homework Hotline Tutoring Program Continues to Help Families of Frontline Nurses

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What to Know

  • Professional Staff Congress (PSC), a union of CUNY professors, and professional staff, created a Homework Hotline-an initiative to provide academic support to the children of nurses while their parents are risking their lives to keep other New Yorkers safe.
  • Although the program launched in spring, PSC has decided to continue the initiative.
  • Students will sign up for tutoring in their desired subject at the time they need support. You can communicate with the student through email, video conferencing, phone conversation, or whatever combination works best for the parent, and the student.

As frontline workers continue to aid the city in its fight against the coronavirus, many wonder how the city can assist them?

To show support for nurses working on the frontlines, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), a union of CUNY professors and professional staff, partnered with The New York State Nurses Union Association (NYSNA) to launch the PSC CUNY Homework Hotline last spring. The Homework Hotline is a free initiative that provides tutoring virtually to the children of NYSNA frontline healthcare workers, and although the program launched months ago, PSC has decided to continue the initiative.

“We put a call out to our PSC members for volunteers to tutor the children of NYSNA nurses and the PSC response was so overwhelming that we had to conduct an online scheduling platform to accommodate the families,” said PSC Treasurer Sharon Persinger.

Over 400 people have expressed interest in participating in the program so far, PSC Communications Director Fran Clark told News 4 New York.

The program started taking shape due to a need for tutoring children transitioning to remote learning due to the COVID-19 health crisis. According to PSC, some children had difficulty coping with distance learning and parents working long and grueling shifts in hospitals.

“I taught a wonderful child, who was a daughter of a nurse. She was smart, curious, and interesting. I’m sure she will be a great young woman one day,” said Ines Carrera, a Spanish tutor who offered her services twice a week for three months last spring -- when the pandemic was in full swing in New York.

PSC volunteers only have to lend an hour or two a week by signing up and specifying the times available and the subject that one would like to offer academic help. Children of NYSNA first-responders don't necessarily have to sign up to partake in the program for an extended period of time.

"The program is provided on a need-basis. Any NYSNA parent who wants tutoring for their child can log onto the site and schedule a tutoring session with a PSC volunteer-tutor." said Assistant to the President for Research and Special Projects at CUNY Ida Cheng.

Once the program organizers have a roster of volunteer faculty, they will provide a link to the roster to NYSNA members and their families. Students will then be able to sign up for a tutoring session in their desired subject at the time they need support.

The subject areas have been kept broad because the program anticipates most of the students requesting help will be in elementary or secondary school. For now they have subject areas: math, english, science, social science, Spanish and, possibly, other languages.

Tutors will be able to communicate with the student through email, video conferencing, phone conversation, or a combination that works best for each individual student.

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