TAMPA, Fla. - During the pandemic, mother and author Micki Boas opted to keep her 12-year-old son, Matias, and 9-year-old son, Oliver, in virtual school. The boys said they are split on the experience.
"Overall I had a better education with online learning," said Matias.
"I think that it is a little harder on the online, but it's a little easier in school because they can walk up to you and ask do you need any help?" said Oliver.
Boas the author of "One in Five: How We're Fighting for Our Dyslexic Kids in a System That's Failing Them" said her sons have the additional challenge of learning disabilities.
"Matias has dyslexia and Oliver has ADHD and dyslexia so it's a complex learning profile," said Boas.
She said the diagnosis of these types of issues for other kids may have slipped during COVID-19.
"I give a big props to the teachers because they are being asked to monitor masks to take temperatures to make sure the kids are eating the right way so I would say it's hard for them to recognize learning disabilities in this because so much is going on and same for the parents," said Boas.
Earlier this year, Florida State Senator Lori Berman introduced a bill that would allow parents of students in kindergarten through eighth grades to retain their kids at their current grade for the next school year.
"We've seen a lot of children have not done as well this year and we've seen the number of F grades at schools are increasing and we hear a lot of evidence from parents that they feel their children have not instead of advancing a year and ready for their next grade they have not advanced at an appropriate rate," said Berman.
"The COVID slide is real and like 63% of parents are worried about their child being on grade level next year," said Boas.
Boas said her kids have actually done well with virtual learning. She's advocated for one on one attention and also used tutoring.
"I would say it was 50% of the success and if you go on any Facebook or any online platform there's huge tutoring groups just popped up. Retired teachers have come out of the works because the demand is just so great and you don't have to have a big income you can download the materials yourself," said Boas.
She advises parents to reach out to their school if they sense something is off.
"I encourage parents now in this Covid slide to listen to their gut to write the three-sentence letter that says I'm concerned for this reason please evaluate my child", said Boas.