(NBC News) — Susan McLaughlin’s 12-year-old daughter, Isabela, was a straight-A student before the pandemic. Isabela, who lives in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, excelled at science and math and was already getting high school credit for algebra.
But when her school shut down in March and classes shifted to Zoom, Isabela’s grades took a nosedive. She signed on for her virtual class from a desk piled high with books, papers and stuffed animals and then spent hours trying to clean her room instead of focusing on schoolwork. She found herself “paralyzed” by assignments, McLaughlin said, but she wouldn’t tell the teacher over email that she was struggling, as she would have done in person.
“It was meltdown after meltdown after meltdown,” said McLaughlin, 53, a mother of three from Delaware, Ohio, who works in a high school with chronically truant children.