Throughout the past year, we have seen many heroes emerge. Our first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery workers, lawmakers, education leaders, teachers—the list goes on and on. We are grateful for each and every one of them. However, let us not forget some of the truest heroes of the past year: students.
Our students, all 50+ million of them in K-12 public and private schools, deserve recognition for the heroism, courage, and resilience they have displayed over the past year. It has not been easy—students have forgone graduation ceremonies, proms, and first days. Milestone after milestone missed, cancelled, postponed, or altered as a result of the pandemic. Students have missed out on in-person learning, foregoing live interaction and engagement with teachers, peers, and friends. They have had to mask up, sit behind plexiglass, skip hugs and high-fives, and stay six feet apart. And let’s face it—that is simply not fun, period.
Despite everything they have lost, children continue to show miraculous determination, creativity, resilience, flexibility, and courage through some very uncertain and difficult times. I am incredibly proud of all these heroes. They continue to inspire hope and courage every day.
An Emotional Time for Students
Students are also navigating a sea of emotions as they emerge and return to school. Fear, anxiety, confusion, grief, isolation, and depression are all pervasive with our students. We must continue to be mindful of the unintended side effects of the past year and unite in our commitment to encourage, support, and help students continue to overcome. Remember, students are bringing more than just books and devices into school within their backpacks.
Make no mistake—student mental health is a concern that predates COVID-19 and school closures. However, the pandemic has helped to shine a light on the extent to which students are in dire need of mental health support. Our Ring the Alarm: Students in Crisis report highlighted the increases we saw at the beginning of the school year, and we have continued to track these trends as the 2020–21 school year progresses.
Let’s continue to shine the light down the road to the future. Whether students are beginning the transition back to in-person learning or a hybrid model, or if you have been back with students since the fall, let us be deliberately different in our approach to give them not only the recognition they deserve for their courage this past year, but the support and solutions they need to drive forward successfully to the next chapter.
Supporting Students and Educators
Educators are not in this alone. Gaggle supports your work with students whether they’re learning in the classroom or at home. Our solutions and tools can help identify students in crisis and provide mental health supports for those in need.
Creating opportunities to support safe digital learning environments is something Gaggle has been committed to for over 20 years. Now, more than ever, we are in a position to change the trajectory of students’ lives. Our Gaggle Safety Management solution can provide vital insights to help support student mental health and well-being—before it’s too late. Paired with our new Gaggle Therapy service, which provides flexible access to licensed therapists via the convenience of video sessions, we’re here to help you address student mental health head-on during the pandemic and beyond.
Let us not forget that this generation of students will go on to be the most adaptive, flexible, resilient, problem-solving generation of adults that will lead our schools, governments, hospitals, and businesses. Together, we can help them get there.