Many young students are facing problems getting back into the swing of school after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to learn from home, where parents were nearby and rigid schedules were often replaced with loosely structured days.
Sarah Barrett, an education researcher and associate professor at York University, said the pandemic also taught some kids how to be adaptable. As schools shifted from in-person to online — and back and forth again — kids learned flexibility and empathy, she said: “The pandemic made it possible to understand that the whole world was going through something.”
Barrett, who published a study on equity in online classrooms during the pandemic in March, recently reached out to the same 50 Ontario teachers she interviewed for that previous research to ask how students are adjusting to in-person learning.
Respondents mostly taught younger grades, though teachers of kindergarten to Grade 12 were represented. Barrett said the general consensus was that kids were “glad to be back, face-to-face with their friends.”
Because teachers are used to addressing the annual summer slide, she said many aren’t concerned by lags in reading or writing. But they do worry about students’ mental health.