MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — For three school years, students across the world have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which interrupted their classroom education.
Education experts say they have concerns on both a social and emotional level.
“It’s definitely having an impact on them,” said Michelle O’Shey, a grandparent.
O’Shey says she’s concerned with the impacts coronavirus is having on her granddaughter.
“This school year, she has already been out twice this year due to quarantine with kids in her class having covid. The learning process stops for these kids when they’re out of school,” O’Shey said.
Education experts say they are seeing an increase in mental health concerns with students back in the classroom.
“There will be children with significant lags. And then they’re having anxiety and having concerns about coming back into school and not being where they need to be,” said Dr. Amy Upton, assistant professor and school counseling coordinator at the University of South Alabama.
This is the third school year students have felt the impact of COVID-19. Many students who were in elementary school before the pandemic began are now returning to the classroom in middle school, and some have never had a normal school year.
“March 2020, everything dropped. We changed the way we did everything. Everyone had to stay home. Children were isolated and they had to do all of their interactions online,” Dr. Upton said.
Experts say it’s hard to know what the long-term consequences will be for students, but they are working to address gaps and concerns now.
“I hope they’re able to bounce back and have the support they need to overcome all of these challenges,” O’Shey said.
Education experts advise parents to keep an eye out for symptoms of anxiety or depression in their kids and to keep an open line of communication with them if they need help.