As the principal supervisor for 10,000 students in K-12 STEM/STEAM Schools, Technical College, and Career, Technical, and Adult Education (CTAE), I’d like to discuss an issue that has been at the forefront of our education system since the outbreak of the pandemic: post-pandemic learning loss or “COVID-slide.”

These terms refer to the setback in students’ academic progress due to the extended periods of remote learning, disruptions in the academic calendar, and social isolation caused by the pandemic.

During a data review with a school leader, the topic of learning loss was raised several times. As we reviewed each student who was not on track, one of the data points we discussed was the student’s learning environment during the pandemic.

One reoccurring theme we noticed was the impact of remote learning on student outcomes. Our primary students who continued remote education after reopening our school were underperforming. Additionally, a significant number of students were also struggling behaviorally.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes in the way we educate our students. School districts nationwide were forced to shift to online learning models to limit the spread of the virus. This sudden transition to virtual learning profoundly impacted students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students who lacked access to technology, stable home environments, and support systems were particularly vulnerable to the COVID-slide. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 14% of school-aged children in the United States lack internet access at home.

So, what can school districts do to help students recover from post-pandemic learning loss?

Well, first, schools can focus on addressing the inequities in the education system exposed by the pandemic. How? Implementing programs providing equal access to technology, academic support, and mental health services.

Next, schools can prioritize targeted interventions that address students’ unique needs. Strategies like diagnostic assessments, one-on-one tutoring, and personalized learning plans can assist with closing gaps in student outcomes. Educators can help students catch up on missed learning opportunities and bridge gaps in their academic progress by providing individualized support and targeted interventions.

Last, school districts can invest in social learning (SL) programs that foster resilience, empathy, and emotional regulation skills. The pandemic has taken a significant toll on students’ mental health, and the effects of social isolation and trauma may have long-lasting effects. By prioritizing SL, schools can provide students with the skills and tools to cope with the challenges of the past year and beyond.

While post-pandemic learning loss or “COVID-slide” has significantly challenged our education system, I know we can help students recover and thrive in the post-pandemic era with the right strategies and support.

How? By addressing inequities, providing targeted interventions, and prioritizing social learning, school districts can ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed academically and emotionally.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”

-Helen Keller

Let’s continue to work together to support our students through these challenging times.


Are you a classroom teacher, school administrator, or central office staff member looking for educational guidance? Then join me for the Moore Leadership Moment on YouTube.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.