Episode 232: Skipped Classes, Teacher Shortages, Mental Health Concerns: How Schools Are Taking On Pandemic Challenges

John Williams, founder of the Champion City Mentor Program in Brockton, Mass. speaks with 16-year-old Glen about why he hasn’t logged into school since September. (Meg Woolhouse/GBH News)

Public school enrollment in New England is down during the pandemic. But even when kids are enrolled, it can be a struggle to get some to show up. This week on NEXT, how one district is tackling absenteeism and why doctors are increasingly concerned about youth mental health. Plus, Massachusetts school districts try to cope with a teacher shortage. And when a Vermonter’s business plummeted after COVID hit, she donned an inflatable T-Rex costume and started dancing.


Jennie Weiner, associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education.

Philip Landrigran, public health physician and professor at Boston College. He’s the lead author of a study on the impacts of ocean pollution on health, which came out in November.


Ben James, freelance reporter for New England Public Media
‘As Scary As A Virus In Some Ways’: Mental Health Concerns Grow As Remote Schooling Continues

Robbie Feinberg, news producer at Maine Public
Early Indications Suggest Far Fewer Rural Maine Students Looking To Attend College

Meg Woolhouse, K-12 education reporter at WGBH News
These Youth Mentors Search For Students Gone AWOL In A Pandemic

Carrie Jung, senior education reporter at WBUR
One Challenge To Reopening Schools: Finding Enough Teachers

Elodie Reed, digital producer at Vermont Public Radio
Coronavirus Shut Down Her Business In The Spring. Now She Dances In A T. Rex Costume

Brenda León, reporter at Connecticut Public/Report For America
‘He Had A Life Ahead Of Him’: Remembering An Essential Worker Lost To COVID

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host/Producer: Morgan Springer
Freelance Producer: Lily Tyson
Executive Editor: Vanessa de la Torre
Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Music from New England artists: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Wanderer” by Francesca Blanchard, “I’m Not Coming Home” by Wise Old Moon, “Dreamin’” by The Wolff Sisters.

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