There is breaking information as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a new study for In-Person, Virtual, & Combined classrooms during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
March 19, 2021 the CDC released the study to the public. They assessed 1,290 parent responses regarding them and their child’s well-being and state of mental health. This was a nationwide survey. Parents with a child from Kindergarten (5 years old) through 12 years old were surveyed over the phone or online. There was a mix of students who were receiving virtual only instruction (530 students), in-person instruction (434 students) and combined online and in-person teaching (326 students) in both public (92.9% of those surveyed) and private (7.1% surveyed) schools.
Nine survey indicator questions were presented to parents. They had to rate any changes in their child’s physical and emotional or mental health. The CDC reports that when students are enrolled in virtual only education they had the highest percent of:
- Physical activity decrease at 62.9% compared to 30.3% reported for in-person only.
- Spending time outdoors decrease at 58% virtual vs. 27.4% in-person.
- Spending time with friends in person decrease 86.2% virtual vs. 69.5% in-person.
- Spending time with friends for fun virtually decrease 24.3% virtual vs. 12.6% in-person.
Students enrolled in virtual only education when compared to combined virtual and in-person learning reported to have higher numbers reporting a worse change in physical health, mental and emotional health. Of those surveyed who showed depression and anxiety with elevated symptoms, virtual only education was reported higher than the other options. The survey indicated students attending school in-person had less negative indicators of student well-being and mental health.
Parents were asked eight questions about themselves regarding their own emotional and parenting state. The results can be found on this table here. The findings were consistent with student well-being as parents whose children were enrolled virtual only or combined reported conflict between working and providing child care, increased emotional distress, and trouble sleeping or insomnia.
The report states insights from ten professional recent resources including the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry & Human Development, and the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Officials report that virtual instruction may prove more risky for student and parent mental as well as emotional health status. It continues to discuss the research based problem that if students are not physically active then they tend to have decreased bone and muscle strength as well as increased risk for chronic health and mental health conditions. The CDC study explains that students and their parents who are not enrolled in all day in-person classroom education may benefit from extra supports based on the changes that occur with COVID-19.
Verlenden JV, Pampati S, Rasberry CN, et al. Association of Children’s Mode of School Instruction with Child and Parent Experiences and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic — COVID Experiences Survey, United States, October 8–November 13, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:369–376. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7011a1external icon.