Covid in various waves has hit academic learning activities as well. Frequent closure and reopening of schools due to Covid-19 has impacted the mental health of students. Frequent closures and intermittent opening of schools have been an upsetting experience for a lot of students and teachers, causing severe anxiety and stress. Schools, in addition to academic support, provide non-academic services such as health and mental health services, food assistance, obesity prevention, and intervention for homelessness and maltreatment.
Edunews explains in what way closure of schools and the loss of other non-academic support can have a negative impact on student`s physical and emotional health. As per the direction of the regulatory bodies virtual or hybrid-virtual cycle was adopted as a viable alternative to offline education. Is virtual education yielded the desired dividend?. The answer is emphatically not.
The scholastic and social-emotional skills the children develop through interaction in school classrooms and corridors actively or even in passive mode are not possible in a virtual classroom. Experts have stated on various occasions that the learning curve depicts a negative sign. Further, it is found that children are not only lagging behind in basic skills like reading, comprehension, or solving simple math problems but also lacking in socio-emotional skills like empathy, self-control, expressing feelings, decision making, social awareness, and discipline, etc. Students also feel anxious as there is a rise in cases. This problem is mainly witnessed in children of the age group between 13 to 18 years. Children undergo many other changes which sometimes make it tough for them to adapt to this new situation.
They have fears of contracting covid and losing loved ones. Several lakhs of people above the age of 20 have lost their lives in the second wave, where the delta variant strikes its missile. Many of the students feel that covid 4th wave creates a fear of school shutting down, and losing friendships all over again. Many counselors have opined that students face issues relating to some social and interpersonal concerns. Further, they observed that some students feel stressed due to physical strain and exhaustion as they are not used to much physical activity. They are taking time to adjust to a socially stimulating environment after a long haul of living in isolation within the four walls of their homes. In fact, both students and their parents faced some problems in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The students’ problems include adjustments to schools operating in a different atmosphere, fear of catching the virus, social distancing, etc. Further, they develop anxiety, erratic sleep patents, uneven eating patterns, weight gain, and making new friends through online education through social bonds. Students have faced a lot during this span of two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Frequent closure and irregularity of timings have disturbed the concentration level of students, and disruptions in assessments result in stress for students and trigger disengagement. Most importantly, students lose touch with each other and with their teachers as well. Problems being faced by parents cover helping their children adjust to new routines and difficulty in understanding the changed behavioral patterns of their children. Online learning is good but it is a temporary gamut of on-campus learning, but it cannot replace the richness of the face-to-face contact between students and teachers. Besides, adaptability issues in online learning, many students are not well equipped with a high internet connection; lack computer education, and have time Management problems in online learning.
Sudden school closures can be particularly hard on children with special needs, such as autism and autism. According to the Autism Society, autism is a developmental disability, whereas, selective mutism is a complex anxiety disorder that starts during childhood. It is a child’s inability to speak in social settings and environments they don’t feel comfortable.