Stuck in the States: One El Salvadorian intern helping students during school closures

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Just seven months ago, a South American student teacher came to South Dakota as an intern for the Sonia Sotomayor Elementary School. Now, he’s stuck here because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Classrooms across Sioux Falls may be empty right now, but for one intern who can’t get home, this is the best place they can think of to be.

Irvin Eduardo is an intern with the Sonia Sotomayor Spanish Immersion Program. Last week, he was told he needed to go home, but home, for him, is El Salvador where borders are currently closed.

“My president closed the country because, at that time, last week we didn’t have cases of coronavirus but he said ‘okay, we’re going to prevent. We’re going to close the country, nobody come in, nobody can go out of the country.’ So, even as El Salvadorians, we cannot go right now,” Eduardo said.

Even if he could go home, life wouldn’t be what he’s used to.

“We have to be in quarantine, and it is an awful place to be in quarantine, my country, becuuse they are not ready. They improvised a place to send the people there. People are sleeping in the floor because there are no beds for everybody,” Eduardo said.

Luckily, the school is happy to have him and the seven other interns still here to help continue teaching their students.

“To help those native Spanish speakers across our school district be able to teach their children. Our language boards in the various schools are all created in English for their students, but if a parent only reads in Spanish, that can be difficult to support their child. So, our interns are taking the time to translate those into Spanish for the various schools across the district so that the parents can better assist their children in this remote learning time that we’re currently in,” principal Tracy Vik said.

Eduardo is happy to help.

“I know that the school is closed but education is still going on so I’m helping some teachers to check activities and also I’m helping my host family. They have two kids so I’m helping them to do the activities, to speak Spanish, to improve it,” Eduardo said.

The school also had interns from Spain, who were able to go home, but are quarantined at home and still helping the school remotely.

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