Long-term effects of COVID slide and how to combat them

“Do what you can with all you have, wherever you are.”
Theodore Roosevelt

The summer slide has always been a concern for parents, but now there is the new threat of the COVID slide. Earlier this year, students had to adjust to remote learning during extenuating circumstances. Teachers had to change their typical lesson plans for unfamiliar digital classrooms. Add to that the burden of the summer slide after a few months and another school year of remote learning. What’s even trickier about the COVID slide is how novel and long-lasting it has been. It’s hard to say when it will end and exactly what impact it will have on your child’s education. However, one thing is clear: students are behind, and they may fall even farther.

Long-term effects of COVID slide including loss of reading and math skills by 30-50%.

The educational research organization, Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), noted back in April that their preliminary estimates were not promising. They expected that by fall, students will only have improved their reading skills by about 70% and math by less than 50% relative to a normal school year. Some students may be nearly a full year behind in math. More recently in June, NWEA projected that, at the extreme, “the lowest-achieving kids may fall two more years behind.”  

One long-term consequence of being so behind is your child might be unprepared for college and the workforce. Another is they may be so busy catching up that they have less opportunities for pulling ahead. However, there are ways to combat the COVID slide. Jennifer McCombs, a senior researcher and director at the nonprofit think tank RAND Corporation, said, “School leaders will need to provide more quality after-school and summer programming to get kids caught up.”

Providing help through additional learning opportunities is the first and best step all parents can take. Many schools are planning to offer extra resources if possible, but there are other solutions, as well. For example, JEI Learning Center has multiple programs that are all aligned with Common Core and the JEI Self-Learning MethodⓇ, so students can solidify conceptual foundations while continuing to learn and advance at their own pace on their own time. This gives your child the opportunity to catch up to or surpass the level they should be at for school. This is a better option than tutoring, which only targets current weak spots rather than builds a strong foundation for all learning.

Some educators even believe that the pandemic has left children with a valuable experience full of unique opportunities to learn about new things and try out new skills. They’ve been learning about disease and how it spreads, sanitary practices, and the environment. They’ve been picking up hobbies and fun activities, many of which hone lifelong learning skills at home without instruction. Even if your child isn’t experiencing the same educational opportunities right now as past generations, these activities can give them the soft skills needed for success. For example, they can read insightful books to expand their way of thinking. The more they read, the more they will exercise their minds and expand their reading techniques. Discuss the stories with them if you find the time, or your child could even start an online book club! This is one creative way to boost their leadership and organization skills. Plus, if this is something they’re passionate about, it would make a wonderful addition to college applications or essays.

More than anything, understand that they are going through unprecedented times. As long as they are open about their feelings, stay optimistic about the future, and avoid anxiety and depression, they can take on any challenge to continue toward their infinite potential. It’s all about thinking outside of the box and doing the best they can with the resources they have at hand. Our advice is to talk to your child openly and optimistically about what’s going on and encourage their every pursuit.

You can help with your child’s education by enrolling them at a JEI Learning Center near you. You can also contact us at (877) JEI-Math to speak with an expert. We would be more than happy to answer your questions and tell you more about JEI Remote Learning and the JEI advantage. We hope that your child has a great new school year and that you and your family stay safe during this time.