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IPFS News Link • Kids

Millions of Kids Impoverished, Deprived of Education During Pandemic. Some May Never Recover.

• https://childrenshealthdefense.org, By Liz Szabo

After more than a year of isolation, widespread financial insecurity and the loss of an unprecedented amount of classroom time, experts say many of the youngest Americans have fallen behind socially, academically and emotionally in ways that could harm their physical and mental health for years or even decades.

Before the pandemic, 16-year-old Na'ryen Cayou had everything he needed. He had his own room. A partial scholarship to a boys' prep school. A spot playing trombone in the marching band, performing in parades all over New Orleans.

Then COVID-19 blew through the "big easy" like a hurricane, washing away nearly everything that helped him feel safe and secure. Schools shut down. His mom lost her job and couldn't make the rent. Their landlord evicted them.

Na'ryen and his mom now live with his grandmother. His mom sleeps on one couch — he sleeps on the other. He spent half the school year in virtual learning rather than in class with friends. Although he has struggled with math and chemistry, his mother, Nakia Lewis, said there's no money for a tutor.

"He went through a real deep depression," said Lewis, 45, a single mother with two older daughters living on their own. "This is nothing anyone could have prepared them for."

As Americans crowd into restaurants, line up at movie theaters and pack their bags for summer travel, people are understandably eager to put the pandemic behind them. Yet kids like Na'ryen won't rebound quickly. Some won't recover at all.

After more than a year of isolation, widespread financial insecurity and the loss of an unprecedented amount of classroom time, experts say many of the youngest Americans have fallen behind socially, academically and emotionally in ways that could harm their physical and mental health for years or even decades.


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