CHESTER COUNTY, PA — As the one-year mark of schools being closed due to the Covid-19 virus approaches, remote/hybrid learning is taking its toll on students and families from both an academic and an emotional perspective.
In order to quantify that impact, a group of concerned Chester County parents developed a survey to analyze the magnitude of these impacts and the potential long-term consequences of extended school closures. Over 1,500 parents responded to the survey across Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties, representing a total of 54 School Districts.
The results of the survey indicate that, from a parent perspective, School Districts are overwhelmingly failing to meet the needs of the majority of students and their families. While remote learning is working well for some students, the majority of parents report that remote learning is negatively impacting their children, both academically and emotionally. Parents report social isolation, suicide ideation, anxiety, depression, irritability, and aggression, in addition to a significant decline in academic performance and overall engagement in school.
Since the survey was posted on a number of Facebook pages, it is likely that the results are only the tip of the iceberg. Additionally, while attempts were made to solicit feedback from lower-income families, the results are primarily based on responses from middle- and upper-income families. There are also some respondents who have children in private school and a few whose children are attending five full days at a public school.
Many of the respondent’s children are attending school on a limited/hybrid basis, whereas, the Philadelphia School District has not been open for in-person instruction for a single day this school year. Therefore, the true impacts of remote learning, if extrapolated, are likely much more dire, particularly for the most vulnerable students in our communities.
In the opinion of many parents, the time for school closures and hybrid instruction is long since past. For those families and students who want to attend school five full days, the view of many is that School Districts must provide that option. Virtual learning combined with the stresses of the pandemic is causing problems for many children. It is becoming increasingly obvious to many parents, in this time when social justice and equity are of paramount importance, all children must have the option to be back in the classroom full time immediately.
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