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What Parents of Younger Students Should Do About COVID-19 Learning Loss

By Huntington Learning Center

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on children, both in school and otherwise. And as Huntington Learning Center notes, now that children are winding down their second school year that has been affected, the evidence is clear: learning loss is occurring.

“Standardized testing season is upon us, and we’re certain that the data will show that students have not made the gains they would in a typical school year. In fall 2020, NWEA reported that students made some gains in both reading and math since the COVID-19 pandemic started, although gains in math were lower on average in fall 2020 than in prior years. We’re now approaching summer, however, many months later, and the year has had continued disruption.”

Learning loss is very real problem that occurs over summer and other breaks when students are not in school, but a current concern among educators is COVID-19 learning loss. This affects both older students working at a higher level of rigor and younger K-3 students just beginning their academic journeys.

While Huntington has seen COVID-19 learning loss impact students of all ages, it’s important for parents of young students to look for signs of skill gaps widening. “It’s a good idea to get an academic evaluation of where your student is academically compared to where they need to be, and ideally, sooner than later. With younger children, the learning loss compounds quickly and can cause problems that are harder to correct later on in elementary school and into middle and high school. We encourage parents who see red flags to do something now as we are approaching summer. Those efforts will help their children acquire the skills they are missing and improve in the areas where they have slipped backward over the past year.”

What are some of those warning signs of COVID-19 learning loss? Huntington Learning Center suggests parents watch for these things:

  • A slide in grades and performance – If your student was doing reasonably well before coronavirus hit but has declined since, it’s a sign that they’re falling behind, having trouble with remote learning, losing motivation, or a combination of these things. Or, perhaps your student had school challenges before the pandemic and those difficulties have worsened.
  • Problems with focus – Remote learning has had an unintended side effect for many students, and that is worsened attention. If your student struggles to learn remotely or asynchronously and it has impacted performance, don’t let this go uncorrected as your child moves back into in-person school.
  • Change in demeanor – Every child goes through ups and downs, but the changes to take note of are an increasing tendency toward negativity, apathy or anger. If your child seems to have lost interest in school—and everything else—there may be several things going on, all of which need addressing.
  • Disorganization – Going back and forth from at-home learning to remote learning to asynchronous learning is not easy for many children. It can create chaos and make a child who is already disorganized even more so or transform a previously organized child into one who is more scattered. 

If you’re concerned that your child is struggling and the disruptions of the last year have made things worse, call Huntington. We can give your child an evaluation to determine whether they have any challenges or are missing important building blocks. Contact us at 1-800 CAN LEARN to discuss your child and how we can help.