This Week in Education 8-7-2020
This week in education, New York State’s latest reopening plans, how the pandemic may be hindering your student’s mental health, and how students receiving accommodations may be disproportionately impacted by online learning. Hi, I’m Dr. Tony Di Giacomo from Novella Prep and this is A Novel Take.
Tony Di Giacomo:
This week in education, New York state’s latest reopening plans, how the pandemic may be hindering your students’ mental health, and how students receiving accommodations may be disproportionately impacted by online learning. Hi, I’m Dr. Tony Di Giacomo from Novella Prep. And this is A Novel Take.
With our coverage of school reopenings, the New York Times discussed New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s official announcement that school districts will be able to reopen this fall. As long as COVID-19 positivity rates remain below 5% schools across the state, including New York City, now have the option to offer in person instruction, making New York the only major city to potentially reopen part-time this fall while San Diego, LA, Chicago and others plan for online instruction. No matter your district’s initial plan, parents and students will need to remain adaptable to the likelihood of shifting plans. If the cases begin to cross minimum thresholds throughout the fall, this theme of flexibility will be helpful to apply to all areas of student life. This year from grade goals to student wellbeing, parents should aim to be open and communicative about potential changes, encouraging their students to be safe, healthy, and prioritize, identifying, and managing potential stressors before they begin to manifest. Time magazine reports that the global pandemic is having a widening impact on students’ mental health. Many school-aged children have already exhibited compounding influence of months of quarantine limited social interaction and environments of increased familial stress.
A study of over 2000 students in China showed that after just one month of isolation, over 20% of them showed depressive symptoms. This trend is particularly relevant for students with pre-existing mental health issues as almost 60% of those receiving mental health services access a portion of that care in school. A reality that may not be as accessible as districts continue with online learning our novel take on this issue is that many of the tasks usually manageable by most students are now becoming harder. Manifesting in varying levels of stress. Parents should be hypersensitive to any potential signs of stress or mental health issues. They may be observing in their child as this may be the tip of an iceberg burgeoning beneath the surface, attend to things like screen time, not only noting how much time your student is spending on their devices, but how that time is spent is your son or daughter socializing with friends on a virtual video call or playing by themselves a game like Fortnite. Try to mitigate any unnecessarily stressful conversations and topics that may be typically discussed around your child as even observing parental or environmental stressors may be impacting your child’s own wellbeing.
After all, the shifting challenges of this school year are already hard enough. The Washington Post reports that the reality of returning to school or receiving quality online education this fall may be not as easily realized for several students with disabilities that receive accommodations. Many students will not have the option to return to school as districts opt for online learning, or may not have a choice due to compromised immune systems and the increased risk of exposure for students with accommodations, many of whom thrive on peer modeling, teacher support teams, individualized attention, and additional therapeutic resources. This school year can have drastic implications for learning and progress. Also in many States, homeschooling your child may not afford them the same, right to access accommodations and support under the individuals with disabilities education act. Now more than ever, parents will need to advocate for their child through more robust communication with teachers and other relevant faculty looking for indicators of lagging performance or learning quality and relaying these key insights to educators will help them to pivot their approach and hopefully increase the efficacy of online education for your student.
That’s all for this episode of A Novel Take. Thanks for listening. I’m Dr. Tony Di Giacomo and goodbye for now.