Education officials assess pandemic's impact on Louisiana's school systems
BATON ROUGE - Students across America have been shifted from in-person classes to at-home learning setups multiple times since March of 2020, and this pandemic-induced change to the nation's educational systems is a major area of concern to officials.
In Louisiana, education leaders acknowledge that the ever-shifting definition of a "normal school day" for K-12 students has become a problem.
Youths who require structure have pushed through months of inconsistent and sometimes altogether absent learning environments.
This is why educators hope to find out exactly what problems the last eleven months have created for students, and how state leaders can work with teachers to address these issues.
Superintendent Cade Brumley and the State Department of Education created a focus group to assess what's been working well among K-12 students and teachers and what areas of education need to be addressed.
So far, the focus group revealed that areas of success include:
-Effective communication between the state and school systems
-Teachers displayed an outstanding ability to adapt to implemented changes throughout the pandemic
-Schools made notable efforts to focus on student and staff mental health amid the COVID health crisis
The analysis also brought to light problems that educational officials should address. These include:
-Lack of internet access for many students; 3 out of 4 students do not adequate internet availability at home.
-Increased unenrollment rate; 17,000 more students are no longer enrolled in public schools.
-Decreased ability to learn in virtual environment among reported among numerous students
The state says it has yet to learn if the pandemic itself caused more failing grades. This is data that can only be obtained from individual Louisiana school systems and systems do not have this information just yet.
Superintendent Brumley vowed to address the areas of concern, but added that positive change will truly become possible as vaccines become available to students and staff at schools in Louisiana.
"The vaccines are going to be key for us to be able to move forward to some level of normalcy," Brumley said. "We just continue to advocate that educators and staff are priority for this vaccine."
At the moment, K-12 teachers and staff fall into the "Phase 1B, Tier 2" group of citizens, and this group is next in line to become eligible to receive the vaccination, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
Click here for more on Louisiana's Department of Education.
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