The widespread disruptions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic have jolted American school systems since March 2020. Students and educators have grappled with the profound academic challenges of remote learning and with the social isolation it produced. As the 2020-21 school year closed, however, there was some reason for optimism. The spread of COVID-19 had slowed, vaccinations were widely available for adults, and students and educators anticipated a return to the more familiar habits of in-person learning.
Since then, the community spread of the Delta variant has tempered that optimism, and students and educators are again called on to adapt to an uncertain environment with continuing concerns about exposure to the virus at school, mask requirements, and other safety protocols for in-person instruction. This report examines data from two EdWeek Research Center surveys fielded in August/September at the outset of the 2021-22 school year. One survey asked middle and high school students a range of questions related to social and emotional learning (SEL) and the other examined educators’ views on the same topics.
The results provide a snapshot of students’ mental well-being and confidence in their SEL skills. They point to increasing levels of stress for some students and highlight room for growth in several social-emotional competencies as students return to classrooms this school year.
Coverage of social and emotional learning is supported in part by a grant from The Allstate Foundation, at AllstateFoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.