Debate growing on what students need

In the early days of the pandemic last spring, as students in Boston switched to remote learning, many struggled with challenges ranging from social isolation to the loss of family members to COVID-19.

All the while, most students logged on to Chromebook laptops or personal computers as Boston and other districts adopted a remote-learning strategy to keep the school year going.

Now, as many students return to classrooms, education officials, students, teachers and parents are wrestling with another new challenge — the concept of learning loss. The phrase learning loss, which publishers of standardized tests coined during the early months of the pandemic when most districts across the country were closed, has caught on.

In the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden last month, $6.5 billion has been set aside for states to alleviate learning loss. In Massachusetts, members of the state board of


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