A recent study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that children who learn remotely or in a hybrid environment are more likely to experience a decline in their emotional, mental, and physical health, caused by a more sedentary lifestyle, less time spent with peers, and less time spent outdoors. Parents of these students may also reflect a general decline in their health.
In March 2020, in an attempt to reduce CCP Virus infections, widespread closures of schools, shifts to virtual educational models, and disruptions in the educational experiences of school-aged children were observed across the country.
Changes in the usual types of instruction have exposed children and parents to psychosocial stress, increasing risks to their mental health and well-being, while exacerbating educational disparities and pre-existing pathologies.
The findings released by the CDC suggest that virtual learning “might present more risks than does in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors,” adding that children “might need additional support to mitigate pandemic effects.”
While some states have made great efforts to get children back in the classroom as quickly as possible, others have not had the political will to make that happen and using speeches intended to spread panic about the virus or manipulated by irresponsible teachers’ unions, tried to convince their population that it was best to remain with schools closed even to this day.
The CDC surveyed 1,290 parents or legal guardians of school-aged children up to age 12 between October and November 2020 and now have a report. Among the participants, 45.7% said their children received virtual instruction, 30.9% received in-person instruction, and 23.4% of the children were in a hybrid teaching program.
Overall, nearly half (46.6%) of all parents reported increased stress levels, 16.5% said they were using more drugs or alcohol to dissipate stress, and 17.7% said they were having trouble sleeping, among other ill effects.
The problems detected were much stronger in those parents whose children had to take part-time or full-time virtual learning programs, relative to parents who were able to continue sending their children to school in a face-to-face format.
More than half, 54%, of parents with children trapped in a virtual school said they suffered increased emotional distress, 16.4% said they increasingly used drugs or alcohol, and 21.6% said they had trouble sleeping at night.
Such problems were less prevalent among parents with children who attended school in person. Only 38.4% of those parents said they were more stressed, 13.7% said they were using drugs or alcohol to cope, and 12.9% said they had trouble sleeping at night.
In parallel, in another report released by the CDC in November, compared with 2019 the proportion of “mental health-related visits for children ages 5 to 11 years and 12 to 17 years increased by approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.”
From the report, it is clear that children were strongly affected by the policies of confinement, confinement and suspension of face-to-face classes, considerably increasing pathologies regarding mental health including depression, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts.
The functioning of the educational system implies an important contribution to the social and emotional health of society as a whole. Parents can return to their jobs with peace of mind, which also implies an economic boost for the country.
It would seem that the CCP Virus should be the least of our worries when we consider the psychological and emotional effects that these school closures and reckless decisions have on our society: the increase in child abuse, the increase in drug use, suicide rates, just to name a few. Our children are suffering and it’s not just because of the virus, it’s because of irresponsible politicians, scientists, and journalists who put their interests ahead of the real problems of society.