Urban > Sarah Diaz School
Washington Heights, NYC Age: 17 / Grade: 12 Disability Type: Health impairment
Sarah Diaz
Washington Heights, NYC Age: 17 / Grade: 12 Disability Type: Health impairment
scene 1


Sarah lives with her parents, grandmother, and three younger siblings. While her parents are at work, she is in charge of looking after her siblings and helping them with their online classes.

Sarah's high school starts classes entirely online.
My parents work full time in their shop during the day, so I have to help my three younger siblings with all their online classes and appointments. As soon as the pandemic started, I also had to start working part time at my parents' shop. I'm having trouble balancing between my siblings' needs, my own school work, the job, and getting my college apps ready.
My mom lives with us and she’s undocumented. As if we’re not scared enough of ICE, now we have to worry about what happens if she gets sick...
With all of her siblings also taking classes online, the wifi in the house is very instable and Sarah has trouble logging into meetings and finishing her college apps.
scene 2


Sarah has her video conferences with her guidance counselor on the windowsill since it's the quietest spot in the house.

A month into the school year
I’m really worried about my college apps, but I can only get in touch with my guidance counselor once every two weeks. And even then, our shared wifi can barely get me through that meeting...
Guidance counselor
My caseload pretty much duplicated when everyone went online. All of my seniors are in the same boat, but there are some we haven’t been able to reach for months now..
scene 3

Study space

Sarah starts doing school work at a nearby laundromat that has better wifi and is much quieter than her house.

End of first quarter nearing early application deadlines
Every so often, I go to the laundromat on our street to work on essays for my college apps. It's much quieter than our apartment and has reliable wifi.
A primary person check-in identified through conversation that Sarah's sense of belonging in the school community has decreased due to remote learning. Response: Calendar additional regular check-ins, and invite Sarah to orientation activities even though she cannot attend in person.
scene 4

Dance class

Sarah has trouble taking her dance class in her crowded bedroom

Dance class was my favorite part of my day at school. But now, I barely have enough space to move around at home, and I definitely don’t get the same comradery from my classmates..
Dance teacher
I'm trying to keep the class engaging and keep my dancers moving, but I can't assume students have enough space in their homes. We've had to be very creative with pre-recorded choreographies...
Start of spring semester
An employee at the Diaz family shop tested positive for COVID-19, meaning the shop has to close and the whole family has to quarantine for several weeks.
scene 5


After Sarah's parents' shop closes, she and her whole family enter a state-mandated quarantine.

With our store closed and the whole family in quarantine, we have no source of income...
The only time I break quarantine is to go pick up meals from the school’s meal distribution... This whole thing is also especially scary for me because of my asthma...
And that's my story, See other stories: