Purpose: This paper aims to provide insights for educators seeking to enact culturally responsive-sustaining education and research in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic . The authors examine what happened when the community-based Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) initiative they engaged with traditionally marginalized high school students was interrupted as a result of physical distancing necessitated by COVID-19 . Design/methodology/approach: Data for this inquiry were taken from a broader on-going ethnography of youth ’ s participation in the YPAR project and included audio and video recordings from meetings of the YPAR initiative and messages exchanged between and among authors and youth . Authors used components of culturally responsive-sustaining education and theories related to student voice as an analytic frame through which they considered how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced their work . Findings: Three findings are examined in this paper . They consider: how youth participants and the authors stayed connected after they were no longer able to meet in person; how youth chose to center the needs of the subsidized housing community where they lived while continuing their work; and how youth and authors navigated the uncertainties they encountered in looking ahead to future possibilities for their study as the pandemic continued . Originality/value: This study provides urgently needed insights for educators and researchers grappling with how they may enact culturally responsive-sustaining education and research during the COVID-19 global pandemic and beyond.