The COVID-19 pandemic and our response to it changed society in innumerable ways. The coronavirus disrupted our everyday activities, social relationships, and where we worked. Most children switched to online schooling, with the amount of time spent learning in the classroom or at home varying by state and school district policy.
Researchers have now started analyzing how these changes affected schoolchildren. Standardized testing results show students who attended school in person for almost all of the 2020-21 school year retained about 20% fewer math skills, while students who spent most of the school year learning from home retained about 50% fewer of their math skills from the school year.
These losses in learning are quite significant. But unfortunately, policies and actions that can help recover half a year’s loss of schooling for all students in a district are rare, if not impossible, to find. For example, Tennessee is running a program that aims to provide high-dosage tutors to 50,000 students, but the plan only covers one out of every 12 students in grades served by the program.
“These students were dealing with some of the most difficult times most of us will ever face in our lives,” says Optimal Edu Options owner Gail Curran, an educational consultant who helps families find the best academic and therapeutic settings for their children. “This generation of kids will need help catching up to where they should be.”
Students across the country missed the social aspects of school, such as seeing friends and teachers, that they had become used to in person. Henry Dodd, an 11-year-old stuck at home in 2020 and the son of a New York Times staff member, gathered responses for a Times article on how students felt learning at home across the country in April 2020.
There was a common thread in their responses: Most kids wanted their everyday lives back.
“The worst is that the teachers might not always see your hand when raising it,” wrote six-year-old Noah Bresler from Brooklyn. “I really miss my friends and play dates. My mommy and sometimes my daddy have to help because it’s too hard sometimes.”
Remote schooling also took a toll on students’ mental health. Mental illnesses have increased since the beginning of the pandemic, especially for students stuck at home without familiar friends and teachers. Violence and acting out have increased for students as well.
There’s much to catch up to for kids who have had their learning and social opportunities degraded by the pandemic. Especially for impressionable younger elementary school-age kids, some of whom may have never needed to deal with such a massive and traumatic change in their lives, this early childhood experience will leave many needing guidance in life and education beyond what a public school can offer.
Education that responds appropriately to childhood trauma has unique aspects that help benefit kids beyond what might usually be expected. Optimal Edu Options helps place kids who have gone through trauma with an educational facility that’s right for their individual needs, whether for behavioral issues, learning disabilities, or mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
“Schooling isn’t a one-size fits all approach, which is often what they receive,” Gail says. “This means kids don’t reach their full potential in what they can learn.”
Options beyond public school exist in therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers, and day schools that can cater to students’ individual emotional and learning needs.
While the world has essentially gone back to normal school attendance, your child might not feel back to normal. If you’re seeing signs of mental, emotional, or learning issues in your child, give Optimal Edu Options a call.
“We may be ready to leave the pandemic behind, but we’re not ready to leave our pandemic-scarred kids behind,” Gail says. “No child deserves to be left in the dust for education and career opportunities because of a worldwide pandemic they have zero control over.”
Optimal Edu Options is an educational and therapeutic placement consulting agency. We work with families across Arizona and throughout the United States. Our experienced team has the expertise necessary to effectively support your family and child in finding the best educational and therapeutic options to meet your family’s needs. Reach out to us today for more information about our services and how they can help. We offer a free 30-minute consultation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (602) 904-1282.