It’s evident that society will be struggling with the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic for quite some time, and that it likely will also take quite a while to gauge the ramifications of those effects. One issue is the impact on school children.
Their learning lives were disrupted, obviously, as were the lives of their teachers and school administrators. While it was certainly a blessing to be able to continue school virtually, one important lesson was that there is no substitute for in-person learning.
And it was not just about school learning, of course. The isolation brought on by pandemic precautions also limited socialization, an essential element for children learning to get along in the world.
All of this makes after-school programs like the one offered at the Ulbrich Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Club, in Wallingford, so important. The Record-Journal’s Lau Guzmán recently highlighted the effort to “help kids recover from losses in social, emotional and physical health caused by the pandemic through whole-person approaches.”
“The kids really need to be together,” said John Noonan, resource development director. “Being with other kids, there’s no substitute for that.”
The impact of the pandemic on young people was something Jermaine Mitchell, a club staffer since 2015, was able to see first-hand. While membership has returned to levels prior to the onset of Covid, Mitchell has noticed the influence on social interaction. “So many kids have social challenges in dealing with other kids,” he said.
There’s an approach, called Triple Play, used at Boys & Girls clubs that emphasizes, as the R-J story described, “integrating mind, body and soul through physical activity.” It can involve emphasizing the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship in approaching an activity.
Help with academics is also essential. The R-J story also featured the efforts of Camila Gabriel, owner of Crest Educational, to offer homework and SAT preparation help. “I think a lot of the academics are only just starting to catch up,” she said. “If they’re catching up at all.”
These efforts are clearly going to remain important. Young people deserve the support.