Congratulations to all the students, parents and educators on making it through this very looooog school year! I know a lot of people are doing a happy dance right about now and are ready to dive into the swimming pool and enjoy a cool, relaxing swim in the bright sunshine.
Covid made for an especially challenging school year as students and teachers increasingly became sick, especially in the winter months, and there were staffing shortages, including bus drivers, so there were days when transportation was not even available for students to attend school! There were stressful decisions around every corner related to Covid safety and mental health concerns, and parents had to deal with the ever-changing landscape of advice from health professionals, the government, and school personnel and were forced to decide what made sense for their own family’s well-being.
Unfortunately, many students regressed socially and academically from being in a virtual environment and mental health concerns have skyrocketed. Mental health care, especially in-person services, has been hard to come by this year.
Families have had to weigh their school options and some have chosen a different path during this time such as homeschooling, private school, online school, or public school.
Understaffed public schools struggled to stay afloat during this time. And many of our most vulnerable populations, including students with disabilities, have borne the brunt of all of this upheaval. Without enough psychologists and other evaluators on staff, getting an evaluation to receive IEP services or accommodations has been a difficult fight for so many parents. Additionally, without the proper staff, IEP meetings have been delayed, services have not been provided with fidelity, and getting your child into an appropriate school placement has been challenging. Private schools have faced staffing shortages as well, and it has impacted students’ education. Even homeschooled students have not had the robust programming that existed prior to the pandemic.
That all being said, it is now summer vacation for most students, and I wanted to give you a virtual hug and a big bouquet of balloons to celebrate the end of an incredibly difficult school year! I hope you and your family can enjoy some well-deserved downtime this summer.
Some of my summer favorites are relaxing at the pool, spending time with family at the beach, and picking fruits and veggies on the farm. Whatever it is that helps you and your kids unwind and have fun, I encourage you to do a lot of it this summer. You deserve it! Congratulations again on surviving this challenging school year.