Almost all public schools in the United States feel the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed their students’ socio-emotional growth, according to government statistics published Wednesday.
In a survey of 846 public schools that took place in May and was done by the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the Department of Education, 87 percent of schools said that the pandemic had a detrimental influence on socio-emotional development during the previous academic year, and 83 percent of schools agreed that kids’ behavioral development has also been delayed.
Schools were forced to shut as a result of COVID-19, causing major disruptions to the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. There were some who returned to traditional classrooms in 2020-21, but there were many more who completed their education entirely online or in a hybrid format.
There were 99 percent of institutions offering full-time, on-campus education this academic year, while a third provided full-time remote learning, and 9 percent offered a hybrid option.
School schedules were returning to normal, but the pandemic was still taking a heavy toll on classrooms.
Students’ misbehavior (56 percent), disruptive behavior outside of the classroom (49 percent), disrespect for faculty and staff (48 percent), and the use of electronic devices that are not permitted in the classroom were the most commonly cited causes of classroom disruptions, which schools blamed in part on the epidemic (42 percent ).
More than 70 percent of schools report an increase in chronic absenteeism, defined as a student missing at least 10% of the school year. “Students thrive in an environment with effective social, emotional, and behavioral support,” NCES Commissioner Peggy G. Carr said in a statement. “So when we see 72 percent of our public schools report an increase in chronic absenteeism among our students, it poses an opportunity for education leaders to act quickly using tested approaches that work. It is our responsibility at NCES to disseminate data describing the severity of the situation.”
Additionally, 61% of respondents said it was difficult to locate a replacement when instructors were away from the classroom. In fact, just one percent of respondents indicated they always found a sub. When replacements aren’t available, schools rely on administrators, non-teaching staff, or other instructors to fill in during planning times.