While the miraculous quality of the vaccines should generally allow for kids to attend school in person in the fall, the issues children have had to deal with for more than a year have ramifications that will demand a lot of attention:
Rarely have America’s children suffered so many blows, and all at once, as during the pandemic’s lost year.
The crisis has hit children on multiple fronts. Many have experienced social isolation during lockdowns, family stress, a breakdown of routine and anxiety about the virus. School closures, remote teaching and learning interruptions have set back many at school. Some parents have had job and income losses, creating financial instability—and exacerbating parental stress. Thousands of children have lost a parent or grandparent to the disease.
It is unusual to have so many challenges at once, and for so long. As vaccinations rise and restrictions are lifted, the looming question for this generation is: What will the long-term effects of the lost year be?
That question will take years to answer. But there are clues in what we know from previous disasters and emerging research on the pandemic. Psychologists and researchers say that the more major traumas and stressful situations a child experiences, the deeper the impact will be. Children with pre-existing problems such as anxiety and depression or learning disabilities likely face greater challenges. And children living in poverty may have an especially difficult time.
I can’t really imagine what if would be like to have gone through this as at that age, and some of what was lost can never be restored.