Manitoba students struggling in school after spring coronavirus closure

This school year has been unlike any other and for some parents, they’re seeing their child lagging behind of where they think they should be.

Les Redelinghuys from Sylvan Learning says he’s noticed more students struggling and he thinks they’re playing catch-up from when schools closed in March.

Read more: With schools closed by coronavirus, is my child falling behind?

“Dominantly we have found that they have gone way behind and it’s not only math, it’s English, it’s all of the subjects. We find there’s a need for every subject. Even homework and homework help,” he said. 

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“I watched my son, too. He’s also online last period of Grade 12. He wouldn’t do anything until it was the last minute, then he would do it, which is normal for a child. You can’t expect a child to be disciplined, especially at seven or eight years old — it’s never going to happen.”

Redelinghuys says both of the Sylvan centres in Winnipeg have seen an increased demand for tutoring.

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“We have seen a sharp rise, a huge increase this month especially with people coming in and obviously the business pre-COVID compared to post-COVID is chalk and cheese,” he said.

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“The kids hadn’t been in school since March. They’ve been at home doing online per children, they won’t do any work unless you nag them and get them to do that. They realize that once the kids got back to school, they’ll go to mom and say I can’t do this problem, mom and dad will say they won’t know what’s going on and luckily they can come to us and we will assist their children.”

Click to play video 'N.B. teachers are struggling to engage with students online' N.B. teachers are struggling to engage with students online

N.B. teachers are struggling to engage with students online

Parents like Brett Greenhalgh, who’s son is in Grade 8 in the Louis Riel School Division, say they’re glad their children can be back in the classroom.

“For him it’s been a big improvement over the spring when everyone didn’t know what was happening. He struggled, as did lots of kids at home, because we couldn’t get him motivated enough to do the online work. Everyone was learning. This year, having to go back, it’s more engaging for him — he’s more involved, he’s got friends to talk to,” he said.

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“He wasn’t very motivated and most kids whose parents I knew, it was hard to get them to do it at home. So many distractions at home. At school you have a teacher dedicated and telling you what to do.”

Read more: B.C. students in need of additional support have fallen behind amid COVID-19 pandemic: report

Greenhalgh says his son would be even farther behind if schools hadn’t reopened this fall.

“Everyone was behind because everyone said you’re going to get a pass regardless of where you are on the grades because you have a free pass in the spring so they didn’t have the full previous grade knowledge so everyone is starting this year off a little bit behind,” he said.

“I couldn’t take the time off for him to be home schooled. My wife can’t. Then the remote learning, you would have to find a teacher to teach him, with all the kids they would have to teach directly it’s going to be a lot harder.”

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