COVID-19 Pandemic: Overwhelming Education Systems in 2021

When the pandemic hit its peak, the coronavirus forced almost all 55 million U.S. school children to stay home. While critical for health and safety, the losses these students suffered are immeasurable – no longer did these students have access to school and the basic support school provides, including group and social activities, sports, and recreational options like gyms and playgrounds.

There’s no doubt about it – there was a crisis delivery of virtual learning, without much time to plan around online instruction, different student learning styles, and personalized instruction. No one was prepared for this; schools, parents and students were not prepared for this. And with the 2020-2021 school year well underway, a majority of schools have been forced into virtual or hybrid learning.

What has this pandemic cost us? What kind of academic gains have been lost?

According to a new study, students will experience substantial drops in reading and math, losing roughly three months’ worth of learnings in reading and five months’ worth of learnings in math.

Learning loss is something we, as a nation, knew was going to be a mass casualty. However, what we cannot prepare for is that students will come back to school having declined at significantly different rates, lead author of the study Megan Kuhfeld told Families and students will have a lot of different needs – more than they’ve ever had before. Instead of only having a few students at a reading level above or below in their classroom, teachers may have students who have slipped back a lot. It’s safe to assume the longer students are without their usual school setting and routine, the further these levels will drop.

Another major concern: Mental health. Academic achievement and mental health are directly linked which is why it’s even more concerning that emergency rooms have seen a 24% increase in mental health-related visits from children ages 5 to 11 compared to last year. There was a 31% increase among older kids as well.  

And finally, there’s the unsettling emptiness that is in most classrooms. Between quarantine, sickness, and computer issues, there are a lot of elements interfering with face-to-face and­ online instruction. Some districts have reported that number of students who have missed at least 10% of classes has more than doubled.

Yet behind this, there are the silent heroes chugging through, bringing enthusiasm and excitement to otherwise boring Zoom meetings: the teachers in elementary, middle and high schools. Teaching in the time of a pandemic is anything but easy yet our teachers have rallied together to continue educating. However, this doesn’t come without a price.

A national poll indicated that one in three teachers has decided to retire, rather than return to the classroom. After all, educators have added as much as two hours to their workdays.

All of this takes a toll mentally, physically, and emotionally – it is truly a devastating time for schools, teachers, and students. Re-opening has never been more important.

Is there hope on the horizon? With the approval of vaccines, it does appear so. And while the United States begins to slowly recover, it’s never been more important to steady the course with COVID-19 prevention.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, GENETWORx has helped thousands of clients’ design and implement COVID-19 test programs, including schools. With GENETWORx, schools will receive:

  • One of the fastest results-reporting platforms, reporting 99% accurate results digitally within 24 hours
  • Guaranteed test volume
  • Easy self-swab collection
  • Pooled testing solutions
  • Secure digital management software

GENETWORx is here to help. Click here to reach out to one of our friendly representatives for more information.

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