In Depth: Addressing issues as kids head back to school amid the ongoing pandemic

SEGMENT ONE: Learning loss in the pandemic 

Trenton Goble, the Vice President of Instructure K-12 strategy joins Hal to discuss learning loss and the other consequences of the pandemic. The company, which creates learning plans for schools, did a survey that found that about half of teachers and parents think students have fallen significantly behind during distance learning.

Goble says it’s still unknown how much the pandemic has impacted students’ learning, and there is still a lot of assessment needed going forward.

Teachers say that it has been a challenge to deal with the change  to a digital form of education.   Goble says that the best advice for parents to assist is to be engaged with both children and educators, and to not pressure them to catch up, but to support them to get the help they need.

SEGMENT TWO: Vaccine mandates at Culver City schools

Culver City Unified School District Superintendent Quoc Tran joins Hal to talk about the mandate he has imposed on the Culver City schools. He says that 90 percent of parents and students approve of the mandate.

He says he respects parental choices, but he says that school districts have always been allowed to mandate vaccinations for schoolchildren, and the topic has even been adjudicated by the Supreme Court.  Trans says there have been a few Covid cases in their school district, but he believes it is fewer than ten.

SEGMENT THREE: Managing anxiety and emotional distress as kids return to school

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a Neuropsychologist and Director of Comprehend the Mind, talks to Hal about managing anxiety and other emotional issues surrounding kids returning to schools in person.  Dr. Hafeez says communication with children is essential. She says kids pick up on their parents’ anxieties and insecurities and will reflect them.

She says children are trying to figure out their own sense of normalcy post-lockdown.  Some kids are struggling with focus and completing their lessons without being in class, but other students have enjoyed the distance learning, and she says parents have to be conscious of their words and terminology, because kids are very sensitive to that. She says that parents need to teach their children compassion and altruism when it comes to vaccinations and mask-wearing.


Hal promotes his podcast, and we end with the touching back-to-school story of a boy whose detective father was killed in a vehicle crash, so his fellow deputies ushered him to his first day of kindergarten.

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