By Alisa Star
Shuttered schools and shattered families across the globe are being affected by the Coronavirus crisis. Will this generation of our children and adolescents see themselves as the “lost generation,” whose lives will be forever affected by this horrible pandemic that is affecting our children in today’s crisis over Covid 19.
With high school graduation rates up almost 70% and dropout rates lower than 30% in the past decade, educators are concerned that school closures could hurt the progress that has been made. Being in school every day help social skills, learning skills, mental health, and being able to ask a question if they don’t understand a virtual assignment. Being on a computer and receiving an assignment does none of these for a student.School has two parts; it has experience and it has instruction. Right now we have a virtual learning system trying to address the instruction side, and that makes the school side on hold. There are also gaps in adult supervision for schooling at home during this pandemic, working parents often leave children alone and this can lead to risky behavior, including peer pressure and substance abuse, leading to becoming a dropout.
This pandemic is exposing inequities, this is that so many of the kids are not having internet access or a quiet place to study, and a lot of our schools don’t have enough computers to sign out to families to cover the amount of kids that don’t have a computer. This puts kids at failing school! This is a setup for failure and not being able to achieve what they would be able to do if they were in school.This is not a forward pathway by any means. In fact it has been known that 60% of those in prison are school dropouts..
The online learning also puts the children in more dire circumstances with social interaction with peers and teachers, this can cause learning requirements not to be met. This is a perfect potion for drop-outs, but even if a student graduates this year, under these present conditions they will have reduced learning. And this will affect their future in education. Schools are hubs for social activity and human interaction, when schools close many children will miss out on social contact that is essential for learning and development..
Students who are vulnerable to dropping out need to know they matter. They need support from their family and a school support system to stay in school, that they are our future and they matter to society. The economy will recover, the crisis will soon end and you still have a future. Stay in tune of your studies and don’t back down from achieving that very important goal, getting your high school diploma.