The Effect the Pandemic has on Elementary Students


Over a year and a half ago all schools were shut down, causing elementary school students to struggle socially, academically and emotionally. The strain of these aspects has affected children in the United States tremendously. 


According to the CDC, 96% of schools in the United States closed during Covid. Now, thanks to the vaccine, school can go back to normal, with precautionary measures. Things like masks, social distancing, and mask breaks are what makes school possible.


Both students who were in school and out of school have had issues with learning and social skills. Socially, students have delayed in that aspect: talking and playing with other children has become more difficult than ever. Listening and learning has also set back; NBC News gathered data on how children’s test scores have differed since Covid. They found that children who have been put back into school after remote learning, scored five to ten percentile points less compared to their last year’s scores.


Nicole Wiita, an elementary school teacher at Apple Wild in Fitchburg, commented, “There is even a barrier of learning when I teach the Abc’s.” She elaborated, “When I try to teach them the distinction between “m” and “n”, with a mask on: they don’t know the difference!” 


How do we help children socially and academically? Teachers can show care towards children who start acting out and lend an ear if they want to talk. They can also check on the child’s parents if it seems to be a long lasting issue. Parents can make sure they keep their child organized with homework and also provide help if needed. 


Data collected before and during the Covid-19 pandemic have shown that full in person learning leads to better academic outcomes, greater levels of student engagement, higher rates of attendance, and of course, a better social and emotional health. When children attend school full time, it overall helps their well-being tremendously. Children will eventually get back on track and adjust after being taken out of school for months. 


But, before that happens, what else can we do? Schools can make sure that they are providing a safe environment, so students don’t have to be taken out of school again. Teachers can provide support and even give access to critical services, if needed.


It will be challenging for young children to adjust to everyday school life. But, eventually, everyone will get there. If schools, teachers, and parents show a supportive hand in all of this, we’ll get through it.