In the Upper Peninsula, a rural school superintendent fears he might have lost scores of adolescents to the pandemic.

Of the dozens of students in Munising Public Schools who opted for all-virtual learning over the past year, about half all but dropped out of sight.

“They failed multiple classes,” Superintendent Pete Kelto told Bridge Michigan.

 “I wish I could predict the future. The unknown is what will happen to these students in the coming year.”

Of all age groups, experts say, teens are especially vulnerable to the psychological toll of the pandemic. It struck at a critical stage in their development as they’re easing away from dependence on their parents, as their relationships with peers become paramount. The pandemic ─ with all its disruptions of school and normal social gatherings ─ pulled the plug on that.

“It’s an absolutely critical developmental period,” said University of Michigan psychology professor Marc Zimmerman.

“It’s a period where they are trying to create their own identity, to test their identity against their friendships. If you were somewhat predisposed to mental health issues before, this was a potential tipping point.”

Read the full article at Bridge Michigan.