Many students have faced a number of obstacles as a result of the 2019-2020 pandemic. Even today, COVID-19 has left children with wide-ranging effects such as school closures, distance education guidelines and isolation, and other unforeseen life changes.
According to the U.S Department of Education, last May about three in ten parents “surveyed in a Gallup poll said their child was ‘experiencing harm to [their] emotional or mental health.’”
Oftentimes, children and teens find community with fellow students and teachers. The pandemic forced many of them into isolation, and an untraditional way of learning and communicating. Such drastic changes are bound to have an impact on the well-being of a student. In fact, in the same report 45% cited that the separation from teachers and classmates were a “major challenge” to them.
This has caused students to feel far more stressed and less engaged in school. They also point out that “Even those with less severe responses still overwhelmingly reported an increase in negative feelings during the pandemic, as did many of their parents.”
Unfortunately, some students also had to cope with the devastating loss of a loved one. It is noted that, “As of February 2021, 37,300 children aged 0 to 17 years had lost at least 1 parent due to COVID-19, three-quarters of whom were adolescent.” Again, during the pandemic, many students may not have access to their usual support system which is especially essential during a time of loss and mourning.
By highlighting the struggles students have faced during the pandemic, we hope to create a space for compassion and understanding. It’s important that children and adolescents have a sense of support and community during such a difficult period. There are many ways to help students:
- Acknowledging that every child has their own way expressing how they feel. Sometimes all they need is someone to listen and acknowledge their emotions.
- Providing them with stability whether it’s through school or resources such as counseling and community building.
- Families and teachers should also educate themselves and be prepared for the road ahead for students. For more information, we recommend visiting California’s Department Of Public Health.
As students go back to school, and with the new information being provided, The Dream Center aims to provide an ease into normalcy for children. There is power in community and we believe that together we are stronger.
The Dream Center has partnered up with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kershaw’s Challenge, to host the annual Back-to-School Bash! Our hope is to bring families and students together for festivities and resources. Donated backpacks will be handed out and school supplies will be distributed. This year’s Back-to-School Bash has a few other surprises in store, including carnival games, a zip line, rock climbing, a ferris wheel, water slides and much more.
As Los Angeles Dream Center co-founder Matthew Barnett put it, “This event is one simple way to remind them that their neighbors and their community care deeply about them and are rooting hard for them.” We hope that providing a space and resources for students to be uplifted, that we can bring them some ease and solace as the new school year begins.