If you feel your child is not ready for first grade due to the pandemic

August 7, 2021

A student concentrates while writing out letters at Dover Elementary in San Pablo.

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Parents who fear their child will not thrive in first grade because they skipped kindergarten during the pandemic or because they struggled too much with remote learning should reach out to their school.

A newly passed law, Assembly Bill 104, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, gives parents the right to request a consultation regarding grade placement. That means parents can now help decide which grade best fits their child, although the final decision rests with the district.

“Kids who struggled with distance learning during the pandemic shouldn’t be penalized for falling behind during such a difficult year,” Gonzalez said.

Missing early milestones in reading and math skills, some worry, may hold students back as the workload increases.

“Some districts will push them into first grade just because they are age-eligible, which is a huge disservice to those children,” said Paula Merrigan, a transitional kindergarten teacher in Castro Valley Unified. “It sets children up for failure if they are not prepared both socially and academically.  No child should feel like a failure.”

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