Since the first day of the first school shutdowns in the spring of 2020, parents and educators have worried about the impact of virtual learning. Would students fall behind by being out of the classroom? And if so, by how much?
According to a study out of Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research, the answer is yes. Students learned less from home - missing the most, presumably, when virtual learning was new and forced to begin without preparation (early on in the pandemic). On average, it is believed that students missed 7 to 10 weeks of math learning in the 2020-2021 school year.
While that in and of itself is concerning, what’s more so is that schools in communities with high rates of poverty missed even more. The researchers estimated that students in high-poverty schools missed 22 weeks of math learning, having spent more time out of the classroom with fewer resources from the schools and at home.
This gap between low poverty and high poverty communities is not new and thus isn’t entirely unexpected. However, that does not make it any less concerning. All students, educators and parents will have to work hard in an attempt to recoup some of the educational losses. However, the schools and families already under-resourced will have to work even harder. And if the gaps cannot be closed, those students will take the next steps into college and/or the workforce less prepared.
**The R.J. Leonard Foundation fully supports all public health measures that keep children and families safe, while also recognizing the need for solutions to the challenges that evolve as a result of such measures**