NEW YORK (PIX11) — A team from the Children’s National Hospital says remote learning during the pandemic has led to a host of challenges for kids, including disengagement, mental health challenges, food insecurity and learning loss.

Teachers College, Columbia University Professor Aaron Pallas said there’s no question about it: the pandemic shutting down schools, followed by hybrid learning, has been disruptive for student social, emotional and academic development..  

“Third graders in 2017 [and] 2018 probably were in much better shape academically than third graders in 2021 and 2022,” he said. “In the long run, that may not matter that much. But for the short term, it is certainly something that a lot of people are worried about.”

But the good news is students across the nation are on the same playing field and dealing with the same issues. A research study based on 80 different studies since 2020 shows social isolation leads to increased depression and anxiety, as well as lower confidence in children.

Cognitive psychotherapist Niro Feliciano said kids need more credit for being resilient because with some focus children can get back on track.

“It’s going to take more intention and a little more work, but their brains are so neuroplastic at that age that they pick up things so quickly. That’s why we say kids are like sponges. So I I do think that with intentional focus, they can catch up, it may be a little bit more work at those younger ages.” Feliciano said.

Feliciano said spending quality time with your child for even just 15 minutes a day and getting them outside can approve their mood and focus.