Many studies have attempted to understand the learning loss resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic by studying the learning loss students typically experience during summer vacations. A new study, however, contends that more accurate lessons can be drawn from studies of unexpected and extended learning disruption due to other health emergencies like SARS or natural disasters. This systematic review of the literature analyzed 15 studies, many of which were qualitative, focusing on the aftermath of crises that interrupted school learning.
Several key themes arose. The most consistent was regarding the critical need for school leadership to center student and staff mental health with both a gentle return to normalcy and also flexibility. Curricula that offer students a chance to understand the event, process their experiences, and express themselves at their own pace can be helpful. Support for teachers can entail resisting the temptation for immediate changes following the crisis in favor of reducing additional sources of potential stress. Additionally, school leaders’ specific knowledge of the community can be essential in recovering from unexpected crisis-inspired school closures, suggesting that schools should be granted discretion in managing their budgets and spending.
The authors urge that the conversation about pandemic learning loss should not crowd out these findings from the literature on previous emergency-related extended school closures.
Source (Open Access): Harmey, S., & Moss, G. (2023). Learning disruption or learning loss: Using evidence from unplanned closures to inform returning to school after COVID-19. Educational Review, 75(4), 637–656. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2021.1966389