TAMPA, Fla. — Over the last year, the pandemic has taken a toll on students physically, academically and socially. A new poll shows there’s still widespread concern about kids falling behind in school.
Divya Chauksey has two children in eLearning, and she’s seen the challenges firsthand since the beginning.
“They’re doing okay, I would say. Not too bad,” said Chauksey. “My main concern is their social life and the practical things they will learn in school.”
A new poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 69 percent of parents are at least somewhat concerned their kids will face setbacks in school because of the pandemic, including more than 40 percent who say they’re very or extremely worried.
However, polling shows concern has gone down since last July.
“I've never seen it like this. Email after email from parents and students about how difficult it is mentally,” said Octavio Hernandez, a teacher in Polk County. “Even the kids that are staying at home, parents that are afraid, the kids don’t leave the house, and then we’re expecting them to be in a computer, and then for relaxing, what do they do? Homework. They don’t even have a normal life.”
Hernandez says this has been the most difficult year in school by far. He even sees the challenges with his own son in school.
“Even for him, it’s very difficult when you go to school and you don’t get to see people, the interaction is not the same, and then, of course, the teachers, the interaction is not going to be the same either because they’re also stressed and they’re worried about the pandemic,” said Hernandez.
While many parents may often push their kids to be high-achievers and top of their class, Hernandez suggests during this difficult time to take a step back and try not to push kids too hard. He suggests if your student needs help to find a friend in the same class they can work with so they can support each other.
“Usually that support helps them tremendously. That’s always been my go-to when it comes to tutoring because after a while a parent or a teacher talking, all the students hear is, 'Yap, yap, yap, yap,'” said Hernandez.
The poll also found concerns go beyond the books, with most parents also worrying at least some that their children will fall behind socially and lose access to school sports and other activities.
Chauksey thinks things are getting better and people may need to continue to be patient.
“We just need to be patient. I think just go with the flow, and try to interact with your close community, and just live it,” said Chauksey.