Students of all ages, from early childhood through college, have experienced the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it was from colleges and universities abruptly shutting down in March, leaving college students stranded on campus, or the learning loss experienced by K-12 students as they navigated remote learning. Isolation was at the core of the challenges faced by students. They experienced isolation from their peers, teachers and entire communities, leading to increased mental health challenges that some practitioners have referred to as a “mental health tsunami.”
Solutions to address pandemic disruption among students have ranged from extended summer school to training teachers and paraprofessionals for intensive tutoring—all rightly focused on academic interventions, but few addressing student isolation directly. Not to mention that these solutions rely on significant financial resources, human capital and infrastructure investment, none of which we had or could reasonably justify.
So we came up with another solution—one that required minimal resources but went a long way in helping students feel engaged and connected: students supporting students to overcome pandemic isolation.
Read more about how our Near-Peer Mentoring Model has helped students navigate through the pandemic and cope with feelings of social isolation on EdSurge.com at: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2021-05-18-how-our-near-peer-mentoring-model-is-addressing-pandemic-isolation