Distance learning could have long-term negative impacts on kids

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Schools are now in their seventh month of distance and hybrid learning modes, and psychologists are saying there may be serious repercussions. Parents and teachers are also expressing concerns of how the pandemic is impacting education as a whole.

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Many expected the shutdown to be temporary when the pandemic forced schools to shutdown in March and students began distance learning. Some are gradually returning to campuses halfway through the second quarter, but many are still distance learning.

Out of the 179,331 public school students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade in October, 16,531 are reporting to school campus for in-person instruction, 42,751 are in blended learning modes and 112,621 are full distance learning, according to the Department of Education.

Parents are worried how distance learning will impact their kids.

Kainoa Ho’olulu has four kids in kindergarten through 7th grade, and all have been distance learning the since March.

“Trying to see my kids going through school without the interpersonal connection between teachers and other students, I don’t know that that’s a great thing. I mean that’s how you learn,” Ho’olulu said.

Kalani High School teacher Brooke Nasser said she already sees problems.

“I am seeing measurable deficits in learning. And they are behind. I’m having to reteach concepts, because it’s just not easy for students who didn’t sign up for online learning to learn this way,” Nasser explained.

Licensed family therapist Steven Katz said there may be serious repercussions, especially with younger kids.

“The academics, reading, math and of course the socialization stuff–that all takes place in early grades, learning how to get along with other kids and dealing with difficult situations…The impacts, I think, are going to be really serious,” Katz said.

“The impacts could be lasting for the rest of someone’s life in terms of success in graduating from high school and getting higher education, getting better jobs, which leads to making more money and having better health, having fewer mental health issues.”

Katz said distance learning is making the gap between socio-economic groups even wider.

“Kids that are in families that have money, it will be much easier for them,” Katz said.

Wealthier families have the means to hire tutors or private teachers, and have access to resources that families struggling to make ends meet do not have.

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