COVID-19 and Mental Health Considerations Amid Reintegration to School

2.0 Re-engaging Disconnected Students

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

- Theodore Roosevelt

The pandemic has created an opportunity to reprioritize the investment in students, especially those who are disconnected, vulnerable, or high-risk. It also has highlighted the technological and digital divide that is present in some of our schools and communities. Anticipate increased levels of student absenteeism the first few weeks or months of the school year, as academic performance can decrease during and after a pandemic. Avoid putting pressure on students to catch up from all the time missed from school in a short period of time, trying to get them to where they would have been had the pandemic not happened. Instead, focus on students’ capacity to learn by meeting them where they are and helping them to get as far as they can.

It is only in the context of trusted relationships that students will allow you into their world. It can be challenging to connect with students who are disengaged, acting out, and who have shut down or given up. Building trust takes time, but the relationship between educator, coach, or other school staff and student can have long-lasting and positive impacts on the student.

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