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Opinion: Children are falling behind because of the pandemic

We simply cannot expect our dedicated school teachers to bear the load of bringing these children back up to grade level. Contact your local school principal or district and volunteer.

A school bus delivering food and homework during the pandemic.
Rosie Fatt drove a school bus to deliver food and homework to students while schools were closed last year due to the COVID-10 pandemic in Oljato-Monument Valley, San Juan County.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

As a reading volunteer for the last two years, I have seen a disaster unfold in reading competency at our elementary school. I assume a similar situation has occurred in every public school statewide. I read with first and second grade students who don’t know the alphabet and associated sounds. One teacher indicated that there are 15 of 28 students in her class below grade level.

Approximately 20% of registered students did not participate remotely during the 2020-21 school year and some kindergarten-aged children did not enroll. As a result, there are more students now than previously who are failing to read at grade level.

We simply cannot expect our dedicated school teachers to bear the load of bringing these children back up to grade level. Every concerned citizen, especially grandparents with school-age children, who want the best for our youth should step up and volunteer. The window for attaining reading proficiency is small. Students who do not gain the ability to read by second grade will require significantly more help to succeed in school.

Contact your local school principal or district and volunteer. These children are precious.

John Jeppesen

West Valley City