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INDIANAPOLIS — With schools closed for the remainder of the year, there are many new challenges facing parents.

Education experts now grow concerned that some students could fall behind.

“We are seeing the impact in all of our centers across the country and in your area in Indianapolis,” Huntington Learning Center president Anne Huntington said. “What we’re seeing is that there is tremendous learning loss and there is tremendous confusion.”

The Huntington Learning Center is the nation’s largest tutoring and test prep provider. Huntington explained historically they’ve seen similar learning loss in the summer months. It’s a problem referred to as the “summer slide.”

School closures, Huntington says, could lead to a new “COVID slide.”

“It could mean a full year’s worth of loss,” she explains. “A student could be a full year behind in learning. That is a crisis that we need to start talking about. We need to make sure that we can tackle it and we can provide academic solutions.”

When it comes to students getting the most out of their online classes, the learning center recommends using the acronym S.S.P.G.

It stands for space, schedule, partner and goals.

Huntington says space is important when it comes to limiting distractions.

“Carve out individual space for each student and have it so that it is the learning space. You can even have the backpack there so the student knows that it is there.”

Huntington also recommends scheduling hours that are dedicated to work time.

Next, she recommends partnering with the school and with the student’s teacher to make sure he or she has the resources needed to succeed.

Finally, she says setting goals are important to keep the student motivated. For younger students, that could be as simple as reading for 15 minutes every day.

When it comes to preventing “summer slide,” Huntington tells parents to find lessons in daily routines around the home.

“It’s important to create curiosity in the students and the children outside of school,” she says. “Cook together as a family. That brings in science and math. Understand how many cups does it take to bake these muffins or these cookies. What does it take to make this pasta dish?”

She also suggests creating a home garden and working on writing skills by sending letters to friends and family.

While it is early in the research process regarding COVID-19 learning loss, Huntington says one study paints a troubling picture.

“Research from the northwest evaluation association shows that students will lose about 30 percent of their learning. [That is] about a year behind for students.”

She believes there are other factors that come in to play that makes “COVID slide” different from what they typically see.

“It’s not as simple as just academics,” she explains. “There is trauma impact. There is emotional impact. There is socioeconomic impact. There is a lot that is packaged into this ‘COVID slide’ so it’s really important that families stay on top of the students academics.”

Huntington recognizes it can be difficult for parents considering the circumstances, but she encourages families to breathe and remember they are not alone.

As a result of the pandemic, the Huntington Learning Center moved their tutoring online.

While typical tutoring is not free, the center will offer free lessons and a reading program to prevent students from going down the “COVID slide.”

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