‘COVID Slide’, Academic Challenges Due to the Pandemic and How to Overcome Them

In the US, the new school year opens with students attending hands-on classes. However, after months of online classes and class interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and teachers are worried about the COVID slide.

This condition is thought to be more severe than summer slide, when students fall behind academically after a period of absence from class due to summer vacation. What does the COVID slide look like in the US and how are schools and parents dealing with it?

A banner reads: "Our children deserve safe choices (education) today" in Decatur, Georgia, USA.

A banner reads: “Our children deserve safe (education) choices today” in Decatur, Georgia, USA.

“Until one month, there were many days without class. Because set up the school is a mess, the teachers don’t know much about technology, so I’m worried as a parent, whether this is a school or not, so the teaching and learning process is a bit chaotic.”

This statement came from Indah Dianti Kusuma, mother of Justin Arif Partin, a 12th grade gifted student at Mc Kinley High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Firzah Hasan, a housewife in Maryland, has two children, Ridho Hamdani, a 4th grader, and Bushthon Hamdani, a 1st grader. She explained how her children’s classroom situation was at the beginning of the new school year.

“The children forgot be patient, to queues and so on, so they are retrained from scratch.”

Rachel Waldrop, grade 6 math teacher at Glasgow Middle School in East Baton Rouge, sees what parents and educators are worried about.

Foundation they’re a bit messy now. We are always there diagnostic test at first, and we can see slide-new. ”

Such concerns and concerns were still lingering when many states in the US started the new school year last August. They are concerned about the impact of the COVID slide on school children. This is a term that refers to summer slide, the tendency of students to lose some of the knowledge that had been achieved in the previous school year after the summer vacation. COVID is found to exacerbate the summer slide.

US kids are back in school at school "Simon Baruch" in Manhattan, New York (photo: doc)..

US children return to school at the “Simon Baruch” school in Manhattan, New York (photo: doc).

The pandemic, which has left many students in the US studying independently online or taking hybrid classes (alternately taking face-to-face and online classes) greatly disrupts the teaching and learning process. In addition to school delays in preparing teachers, students and online learning systems, almost every day the number of students entering classes changes because some are exposed to the corona virus. Parents like Firzah, who has young children, also stated how difficult it was to supervise or guide them online learning.

The most recent report released April 2020 by the American nonprofit research organization Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), which supports students and educators, shows a trend towards academic decline. Upon returning to class in the 2020-2021 school year, students are expected to retain only 70 percent of their reading ability from the previous school year’s learning outcomes, and less than 50 percent of their math ability. Another thing observed was their lack of discipline in the classroom and their sociability.

Rachel has a vivid example. He should have started preparing his students for 7th grade.

“The expectations are for 6th grade, they should have fluent (smooth) for multiplication (multiplication), division, about fractions, right. Because we start learning about integers, ratios when we start in 6th grade.”

But in reality, because their math foundation was lower than it should have been, Rachel said it was now a bit difficult to apply more complex lessons.

In terms of reading, he said that many of his students had problems understanding and interpreting story problems into mathematical language. Though the ability to read like this is also needed in understanding various other subjects.

Meanwhile quoting her son, Indah said in the first days of school, “I asked what you studied earlier. ‘Ah, it didn’t add up, the old one disappeared, the now doesn’t add up.’ I’m really worried. But I keep trying to say, take a look schedule what kind of school, try to read it again in the past, try asking the teacher.”

This is one of the efforts made by parents to overcome the “COVID slide”. From the school itself, various programs are available. For example, Westowne Elementary School, where Firzah’s children study, has several programs that help to keep students’ academic abilities from falling behind. He cites several examples, including:

“There are additional classes, such as math and reading. I’m also looking for information on additional classes from the library.”

In addition, there are also programs study buddy, upperclassmen who contacted their classmates to study together online and summer camp. However, Firzah missed the summer camp this year because she chose to send her two sons to the camp to study Islam.

Meanwhile Rachel has several ways to help her students. He gradually repeats the subject matter that has been given previously, uses games, or provides an attractive reward system if his students succeed in achieving a certain target or goal on a school day.

The impact of missing school is not only felt now. Referring to a paper that is often quoted and published in the Journal of Labor Economics published in 2019, it is stated that losing 80-90 days of schooling as a child will have a negative impact on their income when they are in their 30s. Therefore, it is not surprising that parents and teachers are trying to do whatever it takes to overcome the COVID-slide. [uh/ab]

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