Distance Learning: how does it affect kids today?


COVID-19 has changed people’s lives in more ways than one, but it seems one of the most radical changes is the switch from in-class learning to distance learning.

Currently, 87% of the world’s student population (according to the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: UNESCO ) is being affected by school closures. Because of this, more schools are giving children the option of distance learning. This sudden change in learning style has been a challenge for many students, but they also get to experience the benefits of virtual classes as well.

“When Shepaug first switched to online learning at the end of last year, a lot of kids couldn’t handle it.” a Shepaug 12th grader stated . “No one could accept the fact that we were unable to go back to school that year.”

This abrupt change made students feel isolated, and a lot of kids didn’t want to accept the permanency of it all. This change affected their life socially and because of that, it caused a decline in their academic performance. A study was done that states 55% of students are troubled by their lack of social interaction during the pandemic. Many extroverted students find it more engaging when able to interact with their peers in a classroom. 45% of those students will see that their social inactivity during the pandemic will lead to a decline in their grades.

This 12th grader, as well as plenty of other students, has a different view of online learning.“For me personally, social interaction wears me out. With distance learning, I am able to get a good night’s sleep, and go to class without leaving my house.”

Kids who are unable to attend class because of health problems, or have a hard time juggling work, family, and school have benefited from this change. If they can’t physically attend school, with online learning all they need is a device and internet connection to join the class. Other kids find it stress relieving as well; being physically in a classroom with other students can create anxiety or make them less attentive. With distance learning, those kids have time to breathe and take in information without becoming overwhelmed. They can formulate in-depth responses and complete their assignments because of the breathing room distance learning provides them.

A student’s home life can be a strong factor in whether or not they can adjust to online – some kids live in loud, noisy environments at home and are unable to pay attention and participate in class activities. Furthermore, kids who live in abusive homes are unable to go to a better environment to learn, as well as have a safer place to go to during quarantine. On the other hand, some students found that school was a bad environment for them, and learning at home is a lot more beneficial. It all depends on the individual.

“Everyone is going through their own struggles during this time but we will all get through it. If students have a bad homelife I know it’s going to be difficult for those people and my heart goes out to them.” the 12th grader said. “I’m glad to be as fortunate as I am to have a happy environment to call my home.”