Ever since January 2020, many schools have been shut down because of state lockdowns in the United States. This caused the school year to be very stressful. Mental health issues transpired as students were unable to socialize and gain exposure to positive environments.
Adapting to a new school structure was really hard for students. Their lives went from going to school daily to staring at a laptop all day. During online school, students weren’t able to socialize and support each other easily because they couldn’t meet in person. Even though most students could talk via online, it wasn’t the same as seeing their friends everyday and going to classes with them. Many students were also scared of getting COVID-19, which caused much stress and anxiety. On top of this, some students had to deal with the death of loved ones.
According to an Active Minds Survey that was done on 2,086 college students, 81% said that the global pandemic caused them to feel sad and disappointed. Another survey called the Student Experience in Research University, surveyed 46,071 college students on their experience with COVID-19. The study helped find that 39% of the students had general anxiety because of the pandemic. Researchers also discovered that 35% of undergraduates and 32% of graduate students were depressed. Social isolation also caused overeating and eating disorders for some students. Students who already had mental health disorders felt a bigger impact which worsened their health.
Teaching before the pandemic was already a hefty task, and the rise of COVID-19 has made the occupation even more difficult. The virtual teaching methods many teachers adopted made the process of engaging with students even more tiresome. Additionally, teachers didn’t know how to make sure that students were attentive during class. Many teachers also had to constantly be on top of students to make sure that they were finishing their work. They understood what the students were going through because they were going through it too. On top of the stress of teaching, like students, teachers also had to deal with the fear of contracting COVID-19.
One study found that teachers, K-12, were feeling more stressed and burned out compared to other state and local government employees. According to a survey done by the EdWeek Research Center, 84% of the teachers said that teaching during the pandemic was more stressful than before. Another study found that 25% of teachers said they will probably leave their profession once the 2020-2021 school year is over. The president of the American School Counselor Association said that it's very trivial to take care of a teacher's mental health.
The 2020-2021 school year was tough for students and teachers. Many hope that the next school year will be much easier and less stressful. Most schools will probably still use technology as their main tool for learning. Many students got used to using technology to take notes and submit assignments. Teachers also got used to giving and grading assignments online. Hopefully, students and teachers will ease back into their normal lifestyle and make school environments better again.
Bongard, Kimberlee. “Virtual Therapy: Helping Ease College Students’ Anxiety About COVID-19.” Spotlight News, 2020, https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/04/virtual-therapy-helping-ease-college-students-anxiety-about-covid-19/.
Gewertz, Catherine. “Teachers’ Mental Health Has Suffered in the Pandemic. Here’s How Districts Can Help.” EducationWeek, 2021, https://www.edweek.org/leadership/teachers-mental-health-has-suffered-in-the-pandemic-heres-how-districts-can-help/2021/05.
Thompson, Evan. “How COVID-19 Has Impacted Student Mental Health.” TheBestSchools, 2021, https://thebestschools.org/magazine/covid-19-impact-student-mental-health/.