Students lost more than academic skills to the pandemic; they also lost social skills needed to navigate positive relationships with peers. Parents and educators report kids are lagging a year or more in their social development, and it’s manifesting in friction with classmates, a lack of self-regulation and less empathy.

“Schools have to recognize that the loss of social skills and communication skills is, in fact, also a learning loss. We have to prioritize the socialization of our youth just as we prioritize academics,” said Chad Rose, an associate professor in the University of Missouri College of Education and Human Development and director of the Mizzou Ed Bully Prevention Lab.

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