Public Schools Victimized By The Virus
By Josh Resnek
After more than two years of their faces being covered with masks, and their lives interrupted by Zoom classes, dismal graduations and cancelled sporting events, public school students and college students are trying to come to terms with a return to normal.
All kinds of social activities, and club activities that nearly vanished for so long a time will now be coming back.
But the return is not so easy as the taking away.
Losing several years of one’s school life, is like losing two years of one’s work life, play life, dating life, travel life and on and on.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that reading scores for public school students all over the nation have dropped.
The Times claims students, for the most part, are two years behind where they used to be before the start of the pandemic.
“”It’s alarming: children are severely behind in reading. The pandemic has worsened an already dire literacy crisis among children across every demography. One educator said.‘”We’re in a new crisis,’” the Times reported.
In the Boston region, 60 percent of students at some high-poverty schools have been identified as at high risk for reading problems — twice the number of students as before the pandemic, according to Tiffany P. Hogan, director of the Speech and Language Literacy Lab at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston.
Children in every demographic group have been affected, but Black and Hispanic children, as well as those from low-income families, those with disabilities and those who are not fluent in English, have fallen the furthest behind, the Times reported.
“We’re in new territory,” Dr. Hogan said about the pandemic’s toll on reading. If children do not become competent readers by the end of elementary school, the risks are “pretty dramatic,” she said. Poor readers are more likely to drop out of high school, earn less money as adults and become involved in the criminal justice system.
The COVID-19 effect on all our lives and on the economy and on the future is nothing any of us could have imagined.
How we work has entirely changed. A return to yesterday isn’t coming anytime soon.
What took two years to take away will take another two to three years to forget.
Add to this the fact the COVID-19 is not gone – nowhere near gone.
The presence of COVID remains an especially deadly fact of reality for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Most of those people will likely not eat at a crowded restaurant, or attend a major sporting event, or even shop at their favorite market without a mask.
At this point, all of us know someone who died from COVID, and this includes dying from COVID recently.
In Massachusetts between February 21 and March 6, 14,561 new cases of COVID were reported by the Department of Public Health.
Higher risk individuals are warned by the DPH that they remain in the cross hairs of the virus.
On the one hand, it appears our perseverance to fight the virus to the end is diminishing at a time when the virus is not gone.
Many millions of people are tired of fighting the virus.
On the other hand, the virus remains active among us, making us sick and killing many people at the same time.
Masks requirements remain for public transportation use, for hospitals and doctor’s offices, for many larger venues and in many workplaces.
Worldwide, about 6 million men, women and children of all ages have gotten sick and died from the virus.
The virus has caused medical science to be turned into a political football.
In the modern world, everyone considers themselves an expert.
There is the real possibility that COVID can come back to paralyze us again.
Or there might be another strain of virus that runs through the population of the nation requiring national vigilance.
For now, the restrictions are loosening. Fewer people are getting sick.
The future remains uncertain – and nothing yet about our lives seems like what they were more than two years ago.