Staff Editorial // The Battle Between Mental and Physical Health

Virtual schooling can be detrimental to students’ mental health

Blotter Staff

Since March, many Americans have thought the only way to keep students healthy was by keeping them home. After almost a year out of school for many students around the country, mental health is becoming just as much of a concern as physical health.

In Clark County, Nevada, the county which encompasses Las Vegas, 19 students have committed suicide since March 2020, when Covid-19 first shut down schools, according to CNN. This high number has alarmed officials and caused the district to make a push for in-person learning sooner, with teachers quickly getting vaccinated so Pre-K through third grade students can return to school on a hybrid schedule March 1.

NAFCS students have been on a hybrid schedule for most of the 2020-2021 schoolyear, with the only exception being the few days prior to Thanksgiving break, and one week after Winter Break. Most of the Blotter Staff believes the option to attend school in person is important for students’ mental health. 

“I would rather be happy with Covid than depressed without it,” one staff member said. 

Much of the staff agreed that virtual school is very depressing and extremely lonely. We spend the entire day staring at the screen, with little to no social interaction with friends or teachers. Seeing our friends was the driving force in going to school. We also agreed that even while attending school in person, so much of the formal socialization isn’t there. When we are in the school building we’re told to stay six feet away from our friends, even if we’ll be with them mask-less after school, and with social distancing in classrooms, it takes screaming to talk to the person next to you. 

Schools that don’t have an in-person option cause additional issues for many students. 

Some kindergarteners have never experienced a traditional school day. 

Transfer students who have just moved to the district have never met any of their peers. 

Senior students are losing the senior experience they’ve looked forward to for years. 

Millions of students who rely on school for food may not know where that next meal will come from. 

Students who live in abusive homes no longer have school to escape. 

Virtual school hasn’t been bad for everyone. Some less social students enjoy being at home and not having to socialize. For many students, being at home all of the time is better than the hybrid schedule because it’s consistent. For some staff members, they don’t understand why people consider socializing the most important part of school. Full-time virtual school also makes it less likely for the student to be quarantined, so they are able to participate in a sport. 

Going forward, schools would be smart to continue offering a virtual and in-person option. With hybrid scheduling, most Covid-19 cases aren’t traced back to schools, according to NPR. Additionally, for students who long for social interaction, school provides a safer setting for doing so, as opposed to meeting up after school with no precautions being followed.