State superintendent talks combating learning loss after 2 years of COVID-19
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of learning loss have taken a toll.
Students who started kindergarten in 2020 have now had over two years of disrupted learning.
“We will have students going into third grade next year, who have not had a full school year since they started,” said state superintendent Eric Mackey. “That, to me, is a troubling fact.”
The pandemic ramped up in the state in March 2020. By March 2021, COVID-19 cases were in between peaks. Cases remain low in March 2022, a pivotal moment in combating learning loss before the summer.
“So, for the end of this school year, we absolutely want to just focus on making sure that students leave the school year as well prepared as they can be,” Mackey said.
Alabama’s top educator explained it is about figuring out where students are at, and then beefing up instruction to help them.
“And make sure they leave school in May, ready for the summer and then ready to return next year,” he said.
He also wants them prepared for summer programming.
Mackey anticipates tens of thousands of students will participate in summer reading camps, STEM camps, or other programs.
“Even if a student’s on grade level, if they’re doing just fine, there’s so much they can gain from being around other students, from being around academic material, from having those opportunities in the summer,” Mackey said.
That is why students are encouraged to enroll in summer programs, continue reading over the break and participate in outdoor activities.
“Now that the pandemic has largely passed us, we want to get students back outdoors and interacting with other students in a fun and friendly way,” he said.
It will be for the well-being of their mental and physical health, Mackey said.
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