For many, this school year gave students the chance to be in-person learning instead of staring at a screen for 7-8 hours a day. This has been somewhat of a challenge for schools as measures were needed to be put in place to help deal with the transmission of COVID-19 while also ensuring that students are fully engaged in the learning material presented.

While dealing with remote learning, many students were not fully engaged in the material being presented. This is a significant issue as it hinders their quality of education, putting them at risk for falling behind. In fact, a study from McKinsey & Company determined that students in grades 1-6 were on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading. Moreover, students of colour and low-income suffered the most. McKinsey & Company reported that kids in a majority-Black school ended the year six months behind in reading and math whereas kids in a majority-white school were only four months behind in math and three for reading. As well, kids who attended schools in low-income and rural areas reportedly lost more teaching during the pandemic compared to kids who attended schools in high-income rural and suburban schools.

While educators have worked hard to try and catch students up, some students rather be absent from attending. McKinsey & Company estimate that around 617,000 to 1.2 million eighth – 12th grade students could drop out of school because of the pandemic if efforts are not made to reengage them. This is problematic as student drop outs hinder their future whereas education achievement and attainment are linked to higher earnings, better health, reduced incarceration rates, and greater political participation.

Obviously, many want students engaged and enrolled in school. However, the students may not feel like participating or attending after two years of staring at a screen to learn. With an increase in students falling behind, it is more important than ever for educators to help try and engage students to keep them interested in learning!

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