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Daily News Lessons (show all)

What students lost — and gained — during the pandemic year

June 3, 2021


Student Reporting Labs’ special program, “‘DISRUPTED — How COVID Changed Education,” took a look at the ways students found ways to adapt to a very strange year, as well as the things some students lost that they’ll never get back. As part of the special, Student Reporting Labs found that one of the unexpected ways the pandemic impacted students was the new responsibilities that landed on the shoulders of young people — including caring for younger siblings.

  • Kaci Amaral, a student from Maui, Hawaii, says that learning from home meant that she had to become a “teacher, security guard, principal and a cafeteria worker overnight” as she helped her younger siblings make it through their school days.
  • Ryan Carter, from Rancho Cucamonga, California, was often frustrated with the need to fix problems with educational software. His younger brother Ty is autistic and deaf and would often get frustrated with communication barriers with online learning.
  • Hannah Ghebrelul had to take on more housework and care of younger siblings with her parents working longer hours.
  • While all three students expressed some frustration with the past year, they also appreciated having more time with their siblings, getting to know them better and also having more space for their own projects.


Five Facts

  • Who is interviewed in this piece?
  • What are some of the ways the student in this piece has been affected by the pandemic?
  • Where and When did they seem to find learning during the pandemic most difficult?
  • Why has the past year had some positives and some negatives for these teens?
  • How do these teenagers expect things to change for them going forward?

Focus Questions

What are some positives from the last year, and what are some things you lost out on that you don’t think you’ll get back?

Media literacy: Why do you think the producers chose these three teenagers to interview? Who else might you want to hear from?

For More

The full video of DISRUPTED can be viewed below, or you can watch and discuss the clips excerpted here.

A year without shop class: How the pandemic disrupted students’ career opportunities


How did teachers reach their students during the pandemic?


What can schools and counselors do to address the teen mental health crisis?