The coronavirus (COVID-19) struck, in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Schools scrambled to meet the needs of 55.1 million students, as well as their teachers and families. The economic impacts and trauma that have been felt in the last year are unprecedented. The pandemic exacerbated opportunity gaps. Studies have shown that students can lose anywhere from 2 weeks to two months of educational growth during the summer. Students were also projected to lose anywhere from half to all their educational growth from the last year in math. Luckily there has been research done on summer slide that can help guide educators through Covid slide. A usual 9-month school year won’t be enough to catch up with the slide. So it’s going to take time and patience. Some students will have had more learning loss than others. Students in low-income families will most likely see the learning loss more.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Most students will not be able to jump right back into the learning environment without an adjustment period.
Be Trauma Informed
Teachers have gone through their own trauma during the pandemic. Many have struggled with their own health, lost loved ones, struggled with financial instability, and been disheveled with new teaching methods. Teachers need to address their own trauma and take care of themselves. Educators are going to be in the tough position of caring for their own trauma as well as their students’. A social emotional learning approach will be vital for students.
Assessing Learning Needs
Work across grade levels. Figure out what the students learned the prior year and what items on the curriculum were dropped because of the schools closing. Plan a way to assess where your classroom is at. Start with games or ungraded assignments.
Take Advantage of Programs
The typical 9-month school year isn’t going to be enough to address COVID slide. A recent study showed after two summers of programming for at least 20 days each, students did better in math and reading. They also had positive social and emotional outcomes that persisted throughout the school year. Senior policy researcher Catharine Augustine said, “The story when schools reopen is really going to be one of inequity in the opportunities that students had during the long break and in how far disadvantaged students have fallen behind.” Suggesting summer programs to your students is a great way to attempt to lessen the gap between students.
Schools across the country will be presented with unique challenges. Work with experienced teachers who have taught through crisis. By taking steps to apply trauma-informed teaching, and appropriate educational assessments, students will have the best chance at recovering from COVID Slide.