Coronavirus: Grandmother sheltering in place due to COVID-19 still teaches 8-year-old grandson 3,000 miles away

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Nicolás Carrillo sits on his bed in Oakland, California and reads aloud in Spanish.

"I can read with my left eye. I can read with my right. I can read Mississippi with my eyes shut tight!"

He then turns Dr. Suess' 'I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!' translated into Spanish around to show the text on the page to his grandmother, 72-year-old Neery de Carrillo, who is listening and watching via a Zoom video chat from Arlington, Virginia just outside Washington DC.

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The eight-year-old Oakland resident is confined to his home in East Oakland like most children around the country.

The teachers at the TK-8 grade dual-immersion Spanish (bilingual Spanish) public school he attends, Melrose Leadership Academy, have been desperately seeking online Spanish lesson alternatives for the students with mixed success.

As COVID-19 took hold, "Abuela," (grandmother in Spanish) as Nicolás calls her, stepped up to help as she was at home with little to do but walk her dog and watch the news.

"Reading with Nicolás has been giving me...a chance to not think about all the bad news that is on the radio and on the television. So this keeps me busy and it's good for my spirit so I can forget all the situation with what is going on in the world with the Coronavirus," says the Honduran immigrant who has worked in the US as a retired hairdresser in the nation's capital for over 40 years.

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Nicolás is disappointed at not seeing his friends but is happy to be at home with family in person and via video chat.

"What would you do if an owl lands on your nose," she asks Nicolás in Spanish. I'd wave my hand like this!" he replies waving his hand in front of his face wildly as if there was one about to land on his face, as described in the book.

"We can have a connection, which is very important to a grandmother," says Carrillo.

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