Should kids advance to the next grade following return to school?

WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) -- Online distance learning is in full swing for students across the country and across the Washington, D.C. area and so is a debate about whether or not students should move up to the next grade level following the coronavirus pandemic— especially elementary school students.

Campuses remain closed but learning is supposed to be happening at home. So for students — should they or shouldn’t they accelerate to the next grade?

Especially students who were already falling behind or lagging before the pandemic paralyzed the country.  Many education leaders say no but FOX 5's Tisha Lewis spoke with a mother of four who feels differently.

Adidtu Andoh, a Woodbridge resident, says students should graduate to the next grade level because the coronavirus pandemic was unexpected.

And then there’s the argument that students who were lagging may have excelled if the school year continued and students who were excelling may have fallen short — there’s no way to tell.

The Washington Post says there are millions of children around the country who were already behind when the coronavirus crisis struck. They were reportedly a grade level or two below where they were supposed to be.

Apparently, elementary school students, especially kindergarten, first and second graders are unlikely to be learning any significant amount at home, especially homes with no internet access.

Michael Petrilli, a Washington Post opinion contributor spoke with FOX5 morning news, saying — there's also the issue of students who have limited access to instruction or help with instruction due to parents working frontline jobs.

"There are millions of kids around the country who were already behind when the crisis struck. They were a grade level or two below where they were supposed to be," Petrilli said when he spoke with FOX 5 Tuesday. He said younger students – from second grade and below – may not be getting the education they need at home especially if their parents are working front line jobs or if they don’t have internet access. "We've got to expect they're probably losing ground. It doesn't make sense to just move them ahead to the next grade if they're not ready for it."

Petrilli said older kids may be better adjusted for distance learning because they may have been exposed to it prior to the crisis. He also said there are many unknowns still yet to be resolved including whether or not schools will begin on time in the fall or if more closures will occur due to possible further outbreaks.

"The worst thing that we can do for young people is to push them ahead in a way that they're never going to be able to catch up," Petrilli said. Returning and seeing a familiar teacher after such a long absence may also be helpful, he says. Petrilli added evaluating students on a case-by-case basis would allow those who are prepared to move ahead.

Petrilli says there’s also the concern that next school year could be a rocky one as the country aims to return to normalcy.

The students in the best position for a promotion to the next grade level?

Reportedly, middle and high school students since they can work and read independently.