Summer slide, a term used to define the learning loss kids can experience when not in school, will likely be even larger this year, due to the early spring dismissal of more than 50 million students in schools around the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The average student in a normal academic year can “slide” back one month each summer. Kids from low-income families can experience even more loss – up to two full months of learning, each summer. Studies also show that older students lose more than younger students.
COVID slide, or the COVID gap as it is sometimes called, is the lapse in skills and knowledge students may face due to the long school break during the start of the pandemic. Add to that the usual summer break, and students will have been out of the classroom for nearly five months – so far. We are just beginning to see district plans for fall learning, which may keep students out of the classroom altogether, or attending in-person just a few days per week. What will this mean for our most vulnerable students, including those who don’t have reliable internet connectivity and devices, or alternative learning support?