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Survey shows teens worried about learning loss due to pandemic

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kids face learning loss after a year of school during a pandemic. A new national survey shows many teens are worried about their future.

Nearly two in five 13 to 17-year-olds feel like they’re behind heading into the fall. Some of them feel like last year has already done permanent damage.

“It’s definitely very telling to us when teenagers are letting us know they’re not where they should be walking into this school year,” said Ashley Charest, president of Junior Achievement of Kansas.

The survey released by Junior Achievement shows two-thirds of the kids don’t have concerns about being back in person this year. Instead, a driving factor for some is making sure emotional and mental support is available.

“I don’t think I learned all the social skills that you would have gotten freshman year in person,” said Amelia Henley, a 10th-grade student at Seaman High School.

The numbers likely apply to other age groups as well. For example, some Kansas kids enjoyed school online, partly because it was easier for them.

“I like back in person, but I also liked online,” said Natalie Jessup, a 6th-grade student at Landon Middle School. “Mostly just reviewed stuff instead of learning.”

More than half of the kids nationally rated the quality of education during coronavirus as fair or poor. Charest said schools need to listen to students to find the best ways to help them retain what is being taught.

“For a lot of students they really miss not only being in the classroom and being hands-on, but just being around other peers, you learn a lot from people that are in the room with you, and I think that COVID has shown us that when you take away that piece, there is some learning that is lost as well,” Charest said.

Still, about one-third of students have concerns about being in person, and some districts are offering a virtual option for kids this year.

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