The Emotional Impact of COVID-19
Research: Students Feeling Stressed; So Are Their Teachers
- By Dian Schaffhauser
mental and emotional health of students is becoming just as important
during COVID-19 as their academic development. Two recent surveys
have examined the social and emotional well-being of K-12 students
but from opposing sides — one focused on the students and the other
focused on teachers. Both were undertaken by companies that sell
products and services to help teachers teach or participate in
a survey of more than 11,000 K-12 students ages 13 and up, conducted
after the stay-at-home orders went into effect in most states, half
of students (51 percent) said they felt more stressed and nearly four
in 10 (39 percent) reported that they were feeling more lonely now
and 38 percent expressed greater concern about their mental
well-being since before COVID-19.
survey was conducted by EVERFI,
an education technology company that offers free digital learning
around major life issues such as mental wellness, prescription drug
safety and sexual assault prevention. Questions about their
well-being were added to the start of EVERFI K-12 courses undertaken
of greatest concern included the possible or actual loss of loved
ones; hyper-awareness of health; changes in the rites of passage; and
on-going isolation, fear and uncertainty.
when the student is grieving the loss of a loved one, school can be a
protective factor. It's an environment where people know what's going
on, they can rally around them, they can check in, they can provide
support," noted Erin McClintock, head of impact, social and
emotional learning for EVERFI, during a webinar
on the findings. "In a digital environment that can look a lot
different. And it poses challenges both for students and for the
educators who wish to support them."
added that the pandemic "is completely changing the way in which
students live, in which they learn and in which they function in the
world. For many, and for more to come, this also includes losing
loved ones. And in some cases, it's impacting their own health as
survey done among 8,054 K-12 educators in 11 states showed that while
teachers believe that professional development and implementing
trauma-informed practices is important, only half felt prepared to
recognize signs of trauma in their students. This survey was run by
a company that specializes in developing role-play health simulations
for multiple industries, including education. The survey took place
between November 2018 and March 2020.
Kognito survey found that almost everybody (98 percent) agreed that
educators should be trained in trauma-informed classroom practices.
And more than eight in 10 (82 percent) agreed that one of the jobs of
teachers and other school staff is to hook up students who are
experiencing psychological trauma or distress with mental health
support services. But most don't consider themselves "adequately
prepared" to do anything about it:
said they couldn't necessarily recognize signs of trauma;
in five said they were ill-prepared to use communication strategies
to help students feel safe or talk with them to persuade them to
connect with support; and
in 10 said they weren't ready to implement trauma-informed
approaches in teaching.
student and staff well-being through trauma-informed practices can
help reduce the negative short and long-term effects associated with
[adverse childhood experiences]," a report on the results
stated. "This intersection of health and education is a step
forward in providing the supportive and safe learning environment all
copy of the Kognito survey results is available with registration on
the company's website.
companies are making resources available to educators
is promoting 35-45-minute trauma-informed training for teachers that
uses simulated role-play. While the training was initially produced
for schools after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston
in 2017, recently Miami-Dade
County Public Schools
adopted the program to help its teachers build skills in talking with
students experiencing psychological distress due to fallout from the
EVERFI has compiled free digital
to help students with mental wellness.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.