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COVID-19 Raises Educational Gap Learning Concerns

Tidbits from two separate area school district’s board meetings should be cause for concern as we move through a school year impacted by COVID-19.

Ann Morrison, Sherman Central School principal, recently told board members that many ninth-grade students who are in need of academic intervention will be getting help in the school building. Fifty-one percent of Sherman’s ninth graders are failing one or more subjects, she said, while Mike Ginestre, Sherman superintendent, said, “The ninth grade teachers want the kids to be here in person for more than one day a week.”

In Westfield, meanwhile, Mary Rockey, elementary school principal, told board members that younger children are showing gaps in learning that leave them performing at lower than expected grade levels.

While Rockey didn’t have an exact reason for the drop-off, she said it’s likely younger students did not have a chance to master their skills before schools closed in the spring.

“My gut says they didn’t have the 12 week break that they usually have. They had close to a 30 week break,” she said.

Safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19 are important. Educating our children is just as important — and judging from the early results, our past decisions aren’t helping our children master either the basic building blocks of their education or the more advanced subject matter they must study in high school.

If more schools have similar results, we hope administrators are able to come up with a new plan that better educates children.

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