I vividly remember the morning of May 9, 1980. It was a day of disaster on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge spanning the St. Petersburg Bay in Florida. The morning was unusually foggy, and there was nothing out of the ordinary for the morning commute. The slow-moving freighter in direct line with the base of the bridge was a different story. No one could see him, and he could not see anything ahead – no bridge, no pylon, no shoreline. The fog was too thick. Yet the captain pressed forward without hesitation. It was a decision that cost the lives of 35 people and disrupted commutes for countless more. More disheartening was how it was completely avoidable had they heeded the warning signs.

Fast-forward to 2021, and we are witnessing what may be another tragedy ahead. This time, it’s with our children. And similarly, we cannot navigate the effects of the pandemic on a generation innocently born into a new way of life.

However, studies are shedding light on some concerning signs, and we should take heed. The results of the study, Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Early Child Cognitive Development: Initial Findings in a Longitudinal Observational Study of Child Health“seem to suggest that early development is impaired by the environmental conditions brought on by the pandemic.” It appears a disaster is brewing, and the available research suggests we can change course to avert what likely will be a cognitive, social, and emotional decline in our young people brought on by the policies meant to protect.

This “fog in the bay” could prevent a necessary correction. The mainstream media has hardly covered this study, and it deserves a warning cry for the sake of this upcoming generation.

One might conclude many long-term pandemic effects from this study. And while it is very much about the children, my concern is on how this will impact the student 17-20 years from now when they are applying to and attending college. Unfortunately, I have more questions than answers. Still, I believe there will likely be a tsunami of cognitive decline, need for speech pathology experts, and additional support required to address social and emotional issues we have yet to imagine in the future. If you thought preparing for college was confusing or stressful now, just wait. It’s likely going to get a lot more interesting.