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Texas students struggling during pandemic, now hit with winter storms

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    Dallas (KTVT) — The so-called “COVID slide” could be even worse after last week’s storms.

Experts say the continued interruption of school could make our children’s learning loss even more pronounced.

It’s a concern for parents everywhere: The longer the pandemic goes, the greater the gap in their education.

“I just worry for all of the kids who aren’t maybe getting the learning and the education and structure that they need, and that’s really scary for me,” said parent Carrie Paschall. “I would love to see kids get back in school 100 percent.”

“I have a big concern. Are they lacking in education? I think that they probably are,” said parent Amy Deal.

Education policy expert and author Elliot Haspel said this month’s storms – and the aftermath – are yet another blow to students’ academic success.

The storms forced additional days of closures, and districts including Dallas and Arlington have yet to return, even virtually.

“Unfortunately, it really does exacerbate it, if you think of kind of a strained bridge that was crumbling already, and then you drive a few more trucks over it, maybe that’s the thing that finally causes it go into the river,” said Haspel.

He said research had already shown a significant drop in early literacy benchmarks, as well as spikes in the number of students failing. Those most at risk: lower income students, English language learners, students with special needs, and those learning how to read, though he said everyone is affected.

“We need every learning day that is feasible for children right now, because we want to make sure that we’re maximizing that time and because we don’t want them to slip further behind on remembering the things that they’ve already learned,” he said.

He said this situation will further the need for intervention on the other side of the pandemic, potentially including a longer school year, tutoring, mentoring, and additional mental health support.

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