If you’re anything like me, you may have a little pandemic jargon fatigue. Words like unprecedented, new normal, social distancing, and self-quarantine are words and phrases tossed about on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever end and when our “new normal” will just become our normal again.
In reality, these words are most likely something we will hear for the foreseeable future, and now we can add one more new phrase into our vocabulary – pandemic slide.
If you have school-age children or work in the field of education, you’re most likely familiar with the concept of summer slide – the amount of academic skill loss children experience during the summer break period. Pandemic slide is the same concept, but it’s compounded by an even lengthier time period out of the classroom. You may be thinking to yourself, this can’t be real, researchers just needed something to do with their time while in quarantine, or not another “buzz word.” Admittedly, those were some of my first reactions to hearing that pandemic slide is a new concern for our children. Also admittedly, it is a very valid concern.
A study conducted by nweaResearch compares summer slide declines to estimates on declines due to an “extended pause.” Of course, the degree of impact will vary in each child and school district, but if we look closely at the research, we see a clear indication that many students will lose a significant amount of academic knowledge due to the greater length of time without in-class instruction. Mathematics is a particular area of concern with estimates indicating that children will return to school with less than 50 percent of their learning gains from the prior school year.
Ultimately, a pandemic slide makes sense. We know that certain populations of children do lose some academic skills/knowledge during long periods of time. If a two-month summer break generates academic knowledge loss, imagine what a five-month, or longer, period has the potential to create.
Next week, I will be exploring the social/emotional impact of the pandemic on our children and suggestions for helping your children transition back to school.
Blogger Lisa Bruns, M.Ed., Special Education, shares her expertise of students with learning disabilities. As a special educator, she has expert knowledge of interventions and accommodations that students may need to succeed in and out of the classroom. If you have questions, please contact Center Director Lisa Bruns at .