MASSACHUSETTS (WGGB/WSHM) - Students are back in the classroom following several months of remote learning.
Local school officials told Western Mass News that it has affected students' academic achievement.
Chicopee Assistant Superintendent Matthew T. Francis said in some schools they are seeing upwards of 50% of the student body considered in the red, or under achieving.
“Our concern right now is our lower grades, kindergarten through third grade right now, especially with their reading acquisition,” said Francis.
Northampton Superintendent of School's John Provost told Western Mass News they also saw the greatest impact in the younger grades.
He said about twice as many students in grades three through eight are not meeting expectations compared to before the pandemic.
“We’ve definitely seen the largest achievement impacts in theory of mathematics; we saw that both on are internal testing as well as the statewide achievement testing,” explained Provost.
Chicopee schools have added new programs to help students, but officials said they would like to see more financial resources and paraprofessionals brought in.
“If we don’t fix that problem now that’s going to be a lasting problem for quite some time,” said Francis.
Northampton schools also added programs to aid students.
“We’ve tripled the number of math interventionists in our middle school, we have our lift off to learning program for elementary students, which is an after-school program,” said Provost.
Student Tashiyah Cousar of Libertas Academy Charter School, has felt the pressures from remote learning.
“Remote learning was actually very difficult especially at the beginning of the year. I had a hard time with grades and such. I also remember for a long time struggling with math and science as well," explained Cousar.
At Libertas Academy Charter School, the founder of the school, Modesto Montero, said six through eighth graders saw more than a 10-percentage dip on the MCAS due to remote learning.
Remote learning did not just impact student achievement.
"We also saw students expressing feelings of isolation when they were out of school, and I think that our kids are very happy to be back with their peers and their teachers,” said Provost.
Yanela Cruz, Head of Schools for Libertas Academy Charter School, said that students' mental health has certainly taken a toll.
"The hardest thing we were combatting was the social, emotional well being and health of our students," said Cruz.
Students told Western Mass News that they are glad to be back in school.
“I feel really happy about being back in person, especially because I get to see all my friends again, I get to see all my teachers. It’s easier to study in person,” explained Cousar.