Widespread Fallout from School Closures

by Kerry Dougherty

I feel sorry for 1st-grade teachers.

Not only do they have the tough task of teaching kids to read, but they are now dealing with children who lack some of the most basic skills needed to learn. Skills the children should have learned in pre-school and kindergarten.

An admissions officer from a local private school said recently that they continue to see “COVID anomalies” in children entering the 1st grade.

Anomalies? Like what?

“Many of the children don’t know how to hold a pencil,” she replied.


Then again, what did we expect. When the governor forced youngsters into remote learning – some for more than a year – the tykes didn’t master pincer movements. They were simply propped in front of computer screens for hours at a time. No need to use their little hands.

Chew on that for a moment.

There are six-year-olds who haven’t mastered one of the most rudimentary skills needed for 1st grade work. That means their teachers will waste time giving remedial pencil-holding tutorials for kids who spent too much time staring at screens. Time that ought to be spent on reading and arithmetic.

Rash governors, such as Ralph Northam, who prematurely closed schools and, at the behest of militant teachers’ unions, kept them closed, inflicted incalculable harm on school children.

These irrational policies even compromised military readiness.

In a piece headlined, “School Shutdowns Hurt Army Recruitment And Created A National Security Risk,The Daily Caller reports that academic setbacks due to school closures are partly to blame for the fact that only one third of prospects are able to pass the entrance exam for the Army. Prior to COVID, the Army enjoyed a two-thirds pass rate.

Pandemic-era school lockdowns may have lowered the pool of potential service members that meet the minimum academic standards for Army accession, contributing to an ongoing recruiting crisis as the U.S. faces intensifying threats from abroad, according to experts.

With the Army slated to miss its recruitment goals by as much as 25% in 2022 and only 23% of 17 to 24-year-olds Americans eligible for enlistment, the Army faces a historic recruiting crisis, according to the Associated Press. The Army has resisted lowering educational standards, even scrapping a plan to drop the high school education requirement in June, but it still grapples with the lingering effects of COVID-19 on its ability to build a force capable of engaging powers like China or Russia.

The Army is dealing with the “most challenging labor market since the inception of the all-volunteer force,” according to U.S. Army Recruiting Command, with 71% of youth not qualified to serve for reasons that include mental health, drug addiction, physical fitness and aptitude.

Physical fitness is also a problem that was exacerbated by COVID lockdowns.
“A shocking 20% of all male recruits and 40% of female recruits are too heavy to enter the military,” reports Military.com. “The new recruits basically have to lose weight so they barely can pass the minimum height and weight requirements, as well as the physical fitness tests.”

Gosh, who knew that closing fitness centers and parks and telling people to stay home would result in a crop of young people who are too fat and out of shape to qualify for the military.

From 1st-grade through military recruitment age, America continues to pay the steep price for foolish, irresponsible actions of blue state governors in 2020 and 2021.

Remind me, have any of these nitwit governors apologized for their irresponsible closures? Or even admitted they were wrong?

I didn’t think so.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.