(WFSB) – As the pandemic rolls on, parents are becoming concerned that their children are falling being in school amid COVID-19 learning challenges.
Some are even wondering if their child should repeat a grade to try to catch up.
Distance learning, Zoom classes, and social distancing are all part of school now. The past year has not been an easy way for children to learn, and now some parents are worried their children have fallen behind.
A glance at various online parenting groups on social media and it isn’t hard to find the topic of discussion.
One mom wrote, “I’m definitely thinking of holding my child back. Their math is terrible, they cannot write. With the hybrid learning, they are having a terrible time.”
The idea of having a child repeat a grad is an extreme decision.
“It’s a very complicated discussion. People want to make it an easy decision, but it really isn’t,” said Tom Moore, Superintendent of West Hartford Public Schools.
West Hartford Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore says parents might think it’s what best for their child, but he says most times it’s not.
“I know there’s an increase in parents talking about it. I don’t see a need to actually do that this year because of the issues that have spread across all strata of education,” Moore said.
Moore says that school districts are aware there are learning gaps this past year and repeating a grade is often not the answer when their kids are in the same boat.
“Especially at this time during the pandemic. We don’t want to make knee jerk choices for one child when really a while class could be going through that. A whole school, our whole state, our whole country,” Moore said.
Child psychologists like Dr. Laura Saunders warn there can be a social stigma involved when a child gets left back.
“There’s absolutely a stigma attached to that, because kids know that, ‘oh wow, you were in class with me. I saw you in Zoom meetings with me or on Google meets with me and now you’re back, you know redoing X grade.’ So, there is a real stigma attached to that and it’s actually the reason why the education system over the last 20 years has really gotten away from holding kids back,” Dr. Saunders said.
Educators say repeating a grade cannot be done so easily just because a parent wants it. There are many interventions that would be done for a child long before it gets to that.
“So, the interventions are usually either small groups or either individualized really focused, targeted instruction for the student to sort of catch them up and get them up to kind of speed an up to the standards for that grade level and for that age range, rather than whole cloth, you know retention. Do the whole grade again,” said Sara Woulfin, Associate Professor at UConn Neag School of Education.
Educators say there are some extreme examples where holding back is the right decision. They say talk to the teacher, see where the child needs support, and to remember that in the fall, teachers will be factoring in that most kids have had some learning challenges.