SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — As the spring semester carries on, it’s almost been a year since kids were forced out of the classroom because of the pandemic.
In the 11 months since, many students have struggled while dealing with distance learning.
New research suggests that the longer at-home learning lasts, the more children are at risk of developing COVID-19 learning loss.
Joseph Atman is the director at Middle Tree, a nonprofit education center aimed at assisting students of all learning levels.
"We still don't know the depths of which students are suffering and are going to continue to suffer from this in a psychological and emotional sense,” he said.
Atman believes that staring at screens all day could have some long-lasting negative effects on kids.
"There are certain individuals that through any crisis are going to come out of it relatively unscathed,” he said. “Others are not going to be able to regain some of the things that were lost."
To boost children’s emotional well-being, it might be time for parents to try structured family activities or even allow them to safely socialize in small groups.
“As long as you’re able to do it safely, getting students involved in any kind of social setting is a real benefit to them,” Atman added.
Most children taking online only courses are also in a critical age for social development.
“If you bring things out of the conceptual and into the actual, that's gonna go a long way for any student,” Atman concluded.
If Santa Barbara County’s adjusted case rate remains below 25 new cases per 100,000 residents, public elementary schools could reopen this Wednesday.