By Tina Jenkins Bell
BAPA School Liaison
As we prepare for the holiday season and continue contributing positively to our neighborhood’s public health by wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and socially distancing, I have this one thing to say. Things may appear to be more normal than ever before, but we are not there yet. Consequently, we must remain resolute in our support of each other and our schools.
While we were in the thick of the pandemic and in mandated isolations, our children’s mental health, their outlook on life, and their dwindling abilities to bounce back on shifting grounds while isolated from everything they knew to be true, and constant took a severe hit. This impact did not fade away upon area schools — private, public, or Catholic — opening last fall.
The children who had burrowed their way through the pandemic returned to school changed. Beyond learning losses, an “Education Week” special report cited other student challenges, including depreciated socialization and communication skills, apathy and lack of energy while in class, incomplete or missing assignments, and numerous distractions caused by worries, anxieties, and fears. In addition to the pandemic’s remnant impact on students, many schools also lost valuable personnel and access to a pool of substitute teachers.
We would all love to believe our kids’ natural resilience to move beyond the fray remained beyond the pandemic. Except that COVID and its variants continue to depress and oppress our daily lives, and our kids are literally sick from it. So, how can you help?
Get involved if you haven’t already done so. Call your child’s school to inquire about volunteer opportunities or to share your talents and abilities by applying for and filling personnel voids. BAPA tutoring volunteer corps has re-engaged to offer free tutoring services for families in need of assistance but lacking the finances to pay for commercial tutoring services. If you want to become a BAPA volunteer tutor or your child needs assistance, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, talk to a principal or administrator at a school near you to ascertain what other ways you can assist or contribute.
Rally for our kids as we are known to do in Beverly/Morgan Park because things won’t improve by wishing for a pre-pandemic reality. We must work with what is real for the betterment of all.
That’s all I have this month! Happy holidays!