Adolescents and the Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Youth-Nex and partners engaged around the topics of adolescent development, the pandemic, and returning to school. Specifically designed for people working directly with youth, such as teachers, parents, and counselors, they hosted the conversations and curated the resources below. 

  • The Impact of the Pandemic and Racial Trauma on Emerging Adolescents
  • Rebuilding with Adolescents In Mind
  • Returning to School with Equity in Mind
  • Back-to-School in the Pandemic


The Impact of the Pandemic and Racial Trauma on Emerging Adolescents

Experts in adolescent development and the creation of racial identities discussed the impact of COVID-19 and incidents of racial trauma on emerging adolescents.

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Rebuilding with Adolescents In Mind

Tweens and teens have been deeply impacted, not just by the COVID pandemic, but by the racial reckonings across the nation. While many of our early efforts of support necessarily focused on younger kids, now is the time to turn our attention to and invest deeply in adolescents.

This series was supported by the Readiness Project, the Center for the Developing Adolescent, and Youth-Nex.

As families, schools and communities start to navigate this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we sat down with 11 experts to talk about youth considerations in education, communities, medicine, mental health and with youth themselves.

Adolescence is a period of remarkable growth and opportunity. But the COVID-19 pandemic created unique challenges for this age group—amplifying inequities and curtailing the social interactions and hands-on experiences that are key to learning during these years.

The Readiness Projects is working alongside communities to collaboratively create equitable learning and development ecosystems that unleash the power of all learners, recognize the power of all committed adults and optimize all learning settings and approaches. We examine how communities can work together to intentionally invest in adolescents and build on adolescents determination as part of broader efforts to not just build schools back better, but Build Forward Together.

Students across the U.S. have experienced a diverse set of educational experiences during the past 16 months. Yet common across these is that COVID restrictions for the most part have constrained the typical developmental experiences and aims of adolescence. In addition, adolescents have faced both additional stressors and new opportunities, and the re-entry to school and out-of-school activities will bring both gains and losses that students will have to navigate as their worlds re-open.

We discuss how educators can think about how to shape in- and out-of-school experiences for adolescents that will support not only their academic learning, but also their social and emotional development and mental health.

Tweens and teens have been deeply impacted, not just by the COVID pandemic, but by the racial reckonings across the nation over the last 18-months. In this youth-led and -driven panel, 5 adolescents will share more about their experiences, what they hope for during the next year, and what adults can do to support youth like them.

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Returning to School with Equity in Mind

To support K-12 teachers navigating the first year of the pandemic, UVA Equity Center and Youth-Nex offered a series of free professional development sessions led by UVA researchers and local community experts.

How can educators prepare to identify and manage student trauma in today’s environment? Learn trauma-responsive practices and strategies.

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What mental health challenges should educators anticipate and how can they support students and themselves? This session offers strategies teachers can implement with their whole class and individual students. The session will also provide tools for teachers to maintain their own well-being.

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What actionable steps can educators take to create an equitable and culturally responsive learning environment whether in person, virtual, or blended? This session will offer suggestions for how to create a supportive and equitable climate in various learning environments.

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What can educators learn about virtual education from local youth programs? Hear about challenges faced and lessons learned from a panel of local organizations that offered virtual camps and programs for youth during summer 2020.

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Back-to-School in the Pandemic

Middle and high schools teach more than academics. The social connections that happen in classrooms, hallways, and cafeterias facilitate the social and emotional learning that are key to healthy adolescent development; so how can that social energy be created during COVID-19?

This conversation was hosted by Youth-Nex and the Center for the Developing Adolescent.

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