Remote learning is not the way to go

Jenna Ashe, Staff Reporter

Despite the high positivity rate of 22.2%, covid cases in Connecticut, schools should continue in person learning because of the mental health problems many students faced last year when schools were remote or hybrid. 

As we move through this pandemic, Covid-19 has hurt many things such as disrupting children’s education and harming students’ mental health. At the beginning of the covid outbreak, schools of all ages shut down and students learned remotely. At the end of 2020 and the start of a new school year,  many schools stayed remote or practiced a hybrid method. Hybrid learning was an attempt to have students come into school for half the week and learn remotely the other half. This model allowed students to safely have in-person learning. 

As the new school year starts and Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, many schools question whether or not they should have kids learn remotely again to decrease the spread of Covid or if they should stay in-person. Although cases are rising, Covid isn’t the only factor that needs to be considered. Remote learning has been shown to be damaging to students’ mental health. 

“Researchers say a host of factors related to remote education could chip away at children’s mental health, including isolation, decreased access to mental health services, loss of free and reduced-cost meals, disrupted routines, decreased physical activity, lack of structure, stress due to technological limitations, and lack of identification of abuse and neglect”, said CIDRAP article. 

As Covid cases increase, schools are starting to take more and more precautions. Some schools in Connecticut have restored back to online learning due to the outbreak of omicron. Public schools in towns such as Stamford, Greenwich, Westport, and Winsted have all gone remote to decrease the spread of Covid. 

Whether students are staring at a screen from home everyday or doing hybrid learning, research shows that both methods have negative impacts on students’ mental health. Students need to have interactions with others rather than through a computer screen. For some students, school is an outlet. It allows them to see their friends, interact with others, get out of their house, and have motivation. 

Going remote learning again seems to be a good solution to decrease the amount of reported Covid cases but the question is, will that create an even bigger problem regarding students’ mental health? Although going remote would help decrease the spread of this new variant everyone is worried about, students need to be in person. Remote learning has been proven to be very damaging to students’ mental health which is why schools should keep students in schools and should try to create new precautions that keep students safe while also keeping their mental health a priority. 

I think Naugatuck Public Schools will consider going online again, but I believe they will seriously question how damaging going remote again might be to students. I would hope, while still making new precautions to keep everyone safe, they will keep everyone in person to protect students’ mental health.