By Mandy Savitz-Romer, Heather Rowan-Kenyon, Tara Nicola, and Laura Hecht, Education Week, September 16, 2020
As the global pandemic threatens students' academic progress, recent reports have also raised alarms about students' mental health. Fear, loss, and the anxiety brought on by uncertainty are raising already-high levels of trauma and stress among young people.
It will be tempting for schools to direct resources and attention this fall to bolstering the instructional core, given well-founded fears of learning loss and the widening of academic inequities. But our research suggests that districts need to focus just as much on deploying staff and policies that promote students' social and emotional development. School counselors have a critical but often overlooked role to play in meeting this urgent need.
According to our survey of nearly 1,000 school counselors from across the country, these professionals faced significant challenges last spring as they sought to support students' social-emotional, academic, and postsecondary development in a remote learning environment. Schools should now make it a priority to understand what went wrong in the spring, so they don't repeat the same mistakes this fall.