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Lost learning during pandemic is a problem for all of us | READER COMMENTARY

Ryeheem Watson, 13, an eighth-grade student at New Song Academy works on a science lesson. New Song Academy has an enrollment of about 177 students from Pre-K to Grade 8. Mar. 1, 2021. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun).
Ryeheem Watson, 13, an eighth-grade student at New Song Academy works on a science lesson. New Song Academy has an enrollment of about 177 students from Pre-K to Grade 8. Mar. 1, 2021. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun). (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun)

I do not disagree with Liz Bowie’s reporting that students are falling behind academically due to COVID-19′s impact on schools (”The big cost of learning online: The number of Maryland students who are failing has soared during the pandemic,” April 22). But it is not our students or our public schools that have failed. We as a civic society have failed to respond to this historic public health crisis and its disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.

Instead of framing the discussion around the “lost” time on learning, we must acknowledge the resiliency of the students who continue to live with the trauma of the pandemic.

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Now is the time to redouble our efforts to rebuild our public health and education systems, focusing on equity. Let’s turn our attention to how we can invest in education for the future. Moving forward, how will we attend to children’s social and emotional health, support our teachers, create safe buildings for students to return to and extend summer learning opportunities?

Yes, grades are down. But that’s not what people will remember. When people think back to the COVID-19 crisis, they will judge us as a society for what we failed to do. But even more importantly, they will judge us for what we were able to accomplish in the recovery.

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Afra Hersi, Baltimore

The writer is the chair of teacher education at the Loyola University Maryland School of Education.

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