Education Regression During the Pandemic: The Struggle is Real

Jennifer Arnold by Jennifer Arnold Additional Needs

Jennifer Arnold

Jennifer Arnold

I’m passionate about raising awareness about disability issues through education and outreach. When I’m not wearing my writer hat, I’m usually tryi...

Education Regression During the Pandemic: The Struggle is Real

It’s been almost one year since COVID-19 turned everyone’s world upside down.

The schools in Northern California closed mid-March, and many didn’t re-open until August at the beginning of the 2020=2021 school year.

Some remained closed for weeks after that due to rising case numbers in late summer.

Our 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son both have significant disabilities and haven’t been back in a classroom since last Spring, and it’s doubtful that they will return anytime soon.

Not because the schools are still closed, but because case numbers are still high, and they are both in the high-risk category.

Because of their ages, a vaccine won’t be available for quite some time.

We knew there was the possibility of some learning regression, but man, is it hard…

It sucks having to sacrifice any of your child’s educational progress because the alternative is the risk of getting a virus that could be deadly for them, especially our son with chronic lung disease.

Even with all the support the school can give us, we’ve still seen some backsliding and an overall lack of enthusiasm when it comes to doing school work.

We try to mix it up and find new ways to keep them engaged.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

We learned by trial and error that virtual learning doesn’t work for students like my kids, one of whom is non-verbal and another who has trouble focusing and has trouble keeping up in the online class meetings.

We switched to paper packets, which they complete and turn in each week, and even though it’s a lot less stressful than the virtual classes, it has its challenges.

In the absence of any classroom time- even virtual classes, I’ve taken on the role of special education teacher, and it can be overwhelming.

On days like these, I’ve learned it’s ok to stop the schoolwork for a while and do something fun or relaxing and return to it later.

There are a lot of days when we just read a lot or play spelling games.

On days like these, I keep reminding myself that it will work out.

They’ll get back on track eventually, and we all need a little grace during these strange times.

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