COVID-19 changed our public education landscape nearly overnight. Thousands of Texas schools and nearly 5.5 million students faced a school year like never before. Schools had to quickly develop tools and
resources that would support the pivot to a virtual classroom and had to shift to educating children in crisis, learning a whole new suite of software and skills all while grappling with a worldwide health crisis that has
not been experienced in the last 100 years.
When it became clear that schools would need to close for an extended amount of time, school districts quickly worked to develop solutions to prevent long-term impact to education and support services. Few
people could predict the amount of time that these solutions would need to be in place and the impact that a multi-year pandemic would have on our education systems and the education and care of Texas children.
In this report, CHILDREN AT RISK examines the impact of the pandemic on Texas children using a whole child approach. What became very clear during the pandemic was that schools are not only centers for
academic learning for Texas children, but that they serve as community social safety nets for many families: providing access to nutrition, preventative health screenings, childcare and mental health support. This report reviews data across various indicators of academic success including test scores, food insecurity, mental health outcomes, and others. By looking at education, health and well-being and poverty trends through 2021, the report presents a landscape view of these factors, the disparities across various demographics, and recommendations for how to move forward from the exceptional circumstances we found ourselves in the past two years. It is not unexpected that there will be gaps in learning from the up to 2 years of remote and interrupted learning, however with an intentional strategy and the right resources, we can continue to support districts and students as we move forward and prepare for the future.
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