Mid-June Common Sense Media/America’s Promise Alliance surveys found that schooling’s “new normal” has hit teenagers hard—especially those who are black, Latino, and Asian.
If a parent, you’re not surprised.
As school psychologist Rob Coad reminds us: “One of their [teens] main jobs in life is developing social connections. Their job is to differentiate from the parents and establish relationships with peers, and we’re blocking that. They’re missing an important developmental moment.”
The upshot: In May, a National 4-H Council/Harris Poll found that:
- 55% of teens reported struggling with anxiety,
- 45% reported excessive stress, and
- 43% reported depression.
And on July 28, CDC Director Robert Redfield testified that suicides and drug overdoses had surpassed COVID-19 deaths—and continue to rise.
Nevertheless, and despite parent pleas, on November 13, the Montgomery County, (PA) Board of Health voted 5-0 to shutter ALL public and private schools for two weeks, starting November 23. Many had just reopened using hybrid schedules, with a remote choice.
The reasoning: Rising COVID cases made the decision unavoidable, caused, they said, “by parties, sleepovers, and other social gatherings, including Halloween parties.”
Said a mom: “I can guarantee you that that my son and his future will suffer if you do this.”
They did it anyway.
And they’re not alone. As COVID cases rise, fearful school districts across the nation are closing up shop again, including those in Detroit, Cincinnati, and Des Moines.
Some never opened their doors this fall, including Philadelphia which has now decided to stay remote for the long haul.
This despite dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health Dr. Ashish K. Jha, reminding us that, “… There are other things that are far more high risk that we’re leaving open while being remote in schools, and that doesn’t make any sense…”
In his view: “There’s no doubt in my mind that schools need to be bolder than they’re being. There is a large mental health cost to children. And we know this is going to very substantially widen the achievement gap between wealthier/white students and poorer students of color…”
Should the powers-that-be listen and proceed accordingly, or no way?
- The FCC’s new Suicide Prevention Hotline: 988
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255