ANOTHER VIEWPOINT: Students, educators need support


Anderson Herald Bulletin

As students return to school after a year of turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they will need the supf their teachers, parents and members of the community.

The last year and a half has taken its toll on all of us as we’ve journeyed through the pandemic and its economic fallout, as well as a highly polarized political climate that culminated in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.

As we struggle to get back to our lives, we also have strong disagreements about vaccines, mask wearing and social distancing.

When it comes to our young people returning to school, we encourage everyone to put the disagreements aside and pull together to support the students’ education in every way we can.

Teachers and parents may have to provide more guidance and exercise more patience than in years past as they mentor students, some of whom have fallen behind.

The summer learning loss — or the summer slide — is a well-known phenomenon among educators, referring to the erosion of academic skills and knowledge that occurs over summer vacation.

In this case, the summer slide likely extends across an entire year or more for students who have been deprived of hands-on learning in a group setting. This loss might impact not only academic skills but also emotional and social skills because of isolation from other children.

We encourage parents to take a more active role in education to help keep students on track and to help them readjust to in-person school.

Vaccination requirements are a contentious topic, but we urge all parents to work with educators to ensure that students and parents are following classroom and building safety guidelines.

Now that children are getting (not quite) back to normal, we should follow safety protocols so that we can continue to get back to our lives — more importantly, so that children can get back to dynamic, hands-on education in the company of other children.

Talk to your kids. Ask about homework. Most importantly, ask how they’re feeling. Adults and children alike have been affected by the mental health consequences of quarantining.

Hopefully, sending the kids back to school will be one more step in a return to normalcy.