As Cody’s students return to the K-12 classrooms next week, one large question looms.

What effects will the school closure of last spring and the associated online teaching and lack of social interaction have on students?

It is obvious to anyone paying attention that attempts to educate students (especially kindergarten, and first and second-graders) online are woefully inadequate.

Are the students in the higher grades also impacted, and to what extent?

How much catch-up instruction needs to be done before teachers can begin teaching the curriculum for the current grade level?

Are there certain types of students who are going to take more time to get to where they need to be?

Will there be long-term harm from the shutdown? Will some students’ learning skills and education be permanently damaged?

What assessments are in place to determine what the short-term and long-term effects of the school closures are?

What about the social, psychological and emotional impacts on the students from being sequestered?

Are today’s students unintentionally being taught to be fearful by social distancing and face-mask wearing and everything else that accompanies the safety precautions?

Cody assistant superintendent Tim Foley said school personnel have a general concern that students will be behind in learning and the assessments and screenings given at the beginning of each school year should give a good picture of what catch-up needs to be made.

Foley said there is more concern about the social and emotional impacts on students and staff from social distancing and the other safety measures along with the fear of contracting the virus.

“As adults we are struggling with these things,” Foley said. “I can’t imagine how kids are going to deal with this.”

Educators are not the ones responsible for the pandemic shutdown and related issues. It was the state government that mandated the school closures. However, teachers, school administrators and counselors are the ones who must now deal with the consequences.

Cody schools are doing an admirable job of keeping staff and students as safe as possible. We trust they are also taking adequate steps to accommodate the educational and psychological issues affiliated with the school closures.

John Malmberg

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