COVID-19 and Children

October 1, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 34
Has the pandemic caused lasting damage?
By Chandra White-Cummings


As K-12 students settle into a new school year, educators and parents are assessing the COVID-19 pandemic's toll on learning and children's mental health. Surveys show that large numbers of children and adolescents felt depressed or stressed last year as they dealt with virtual learning and the loss of after-school activities. The coronavirus placed additional stress on families who lost income, jobs or housing. In the mental health profession, however, the debate continues over just how deeply and for how long the pandemic will affect children. Some educators cite a “COVID slide” — the accumulated academic losses occurring because of the pandemic. Researchers say that children and adolescents who faced academic, health and financial vulnerabilities before the virus hit are especially at risk, and that Black and Latino children are experiencing steeper academic declines than white children. Despite the many challenges, young people say they see positive things about their experiences during the pandemic, such as drawing closer to their family or pursuing a new hobby.

Photo of first-grader Jacob Dartt in a virtual class in Culver City, California, on August 20, 2020. (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Mel Melcon)
First-grader Jacob Dartt participates in a virtual class in Culver City, Calif., last year. Surveys gauging the toll of COVID-19 on children's mental health show a large number saying they felt depressed or stressed by virtual learning and the absence of after-school activities. (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Mel Melcon)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Education Issues
Sep. 23, 2022  Public Schools' Challenges
Aug. 12, 2022  Parents' Rights
Apr. 01, 2022  Online Learning
Jan. 21, 2022  Teaching About Racism
Oct. 01, 2021  COVID-19 and Children
Jun. 11, 2021  Special Education
Jun. 21, 2019  Title IX and Campus Sexual Assault
May 17, 2019  School Safety
Feb. 02, 2018  Bullying and Cyberbullying
Feb. 03, 2017  Civic Education
Sep. 05, 2014  Race and Education
Jun. 13, 2014  Dropout Rate
May 09, 2014  School Discipline
Mar. 07, 2014  Home Schooling
Dec. 02, 2011  Digital Education
Nov. 15, 2011  Expanding Higher Education
Dec. 10, 2010  Preventing Bullying Updated
Apr. 16, 2010  Revising No Child Left Behind
Mar. 26, 2010  Teen Pregnancy
Sep. 04, 2009  Financial Literacy
Jun. 05, 2009  Student Rights
Feb. 22, 2008  Reading Crisis?
Jul. 13, 2007  Students Under Stress
Apr. 27, 2007  Fixing Urban Schools Updated
Nov. 10, 2006  Video Games Updated
Mar. 03, 2006  AP and IB Programs
Oct. 07, 2005  Academic Freedom
Aug. 26, 2005  Evaluating Head Start
May 27, 2005  No Child Left Behind
Jan. 17, 2003  Home Schooling Debate
Sep. 06, 2002  Teaching Math and Science
Jun. 07, 2002  Grade Inflation
Dec. 07, 2001  Distance Learning
Apr. 20, 2001  Testing in Schools
May 14, 1999  National Education Standards
Apr. 10, 1998  Liberal Arts Education
Jul. 26, 1996  Attack on Public Schools
May 17, 1996  Year-Round Schools
Oct. 20, 1995  Networking the Classroom
Sep. 22, 1995  High School Sports
Jan. 20, 1995  Parents and Schools
Sep. 09, 1994  Home Schooling
Mar. 25, 1994  Private Management of Public Schools
Mar. 11, 1994  Education Standards
Apr. 09, 1993  Head Start
Nov. 30, 1990  Conflict Over Multicultural Education
Feb. 05, 1988  Preschool: Too Much Too Soon?
Oct. 23, 1987  Education Reform
Aug. 24, 1984  Status of the Schools
Sep. 10, 1982  Schoolbook Controversies
Sep. 03, 1982  Post-Sputnik Education
Aug. 18, 1978  Competency Tests
Jan. 26, 1972  Public School Financing
Nov. 03, 1971  Education for Jobs
Apr. 15, 1970  Reform of Public Schools
Aug. 27, 1969  Discipline in Public Schools
Dec. 27, 1968  Community Control of Public Schools
Jun. 14, 1965  Summer School Innovations
Oct. 28, 1964  Education of Slum Children
Jun. 05, 1963  Year-Round School
Mar. 28, 1962  Mentally Retarded Children
Dec. 17, 1958  Educational Testing
Sep. 25, 1957  Liberal Education
Jul. 11, 1956  Educational Exchange
Feb. 02, 1955  Federal Aid for School Construction
Mar. 07, 1951  Education in an Extended Emergency
Nov. 20, 1945  Postwar Public Education
Nov. 07, 1941  Standards of Education
Conservatism and Liberalism
Diversity Issues
Education Policy
Elementary and Secondary Education
General Social Trends
Infectious Diseases
Internet and Social Media
Online Education
Party Politics
Party Politics
People with Disabilities
Protest Movements
Special Education
Students and Social Life
Work and the Family
Workplace Safety and Worker's Compensation