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Remote schooling in the U.S. leaves students behind

By Amy Armenia


U.S. schools are heading into the winter holiday break after a roller coaster of a fall.  In a few places, students started and ended the term with distance learning, but many schools vacillated between distance and face-to-face, with occasional quarantining of individual classes, grades, or schools as COVID-19 outbreaks interfered with normal operations.

Parents, students, and teachers were often confronted with finding their “least worst choice,” weighing risks of exposure, the need for child care for essential workers, and educational, psychological, and social needs of children.

In December, Carolyn Thompson of AP reports that the first round of report card are arriving with far more failing grades for students usual.  This trend is present around the country, and is attributed to a range of factors, including inequalities in internet access, lower participation and attendance in distance learning, and the higher likelihood of students falling through the cracks. Carrie Goldman of the Washington Post, shares strategies for parents of struggling remote learners.

For students with disabilities, the challenges of distance learning are heightened. Ally Markovich of Berkeleyside, writes about the reduction in special education services during distance learning. COVID-19 has also caused delays in evaluations that has prevented some students from accessing services. The emotional and educational toll on these students has been tremendous.

News of approved vaccines is welcome, but these vaccines have not been tested and approved for children yet. Vaccination of teachers is potentially imminent, though states differ in where these essential workers fall in line. Eliza Shapiro and Shawn Hubler of the New York Times write of the debates about when teachers should be vaccinated, and what that might mean for school openings.

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