The current pandemic, caused by the virus known as COVID-19 (a type of Coronavirus), has been the worst in our recent history, as its effect on people globally hadn’t been experienced in decades. Consequently, people are getting affected on a scale we had hitherto not dreamt. The pandemic has affected and altered life as we know it, and will fundamentally, and permanently, alter how we will live in our future. A lot of the things that we took as normal are now not normal and probably won’t return to normal post-pandemic. One of these things is the face mask.
The face-mask was a sign of concern only in cities affected by air pollution, but now the whole world is expected to wear it (except places that have seen cases disappear, which are rare). But post-pandemic, with a fear of a relapse, governments around the world may advise or even enforce citizens to wear masks, to reduce chances of transmissions and relapse.
But the most adverse effects of the pandemic are being felt and will be felt, in our physical and mental health and issues. With a lot of our work migrating online, to protect ourselves from the pandemic nature of the virus, we have been less active physically. We have also been mentally exhausting ourselves, as our work-home distinction has blurred, and our time in our homes is now also taken up by work. Sitting for long hours and straining our eyes, compounded upon our straining mental faculties,
has only served to make us tired and less efficient overall. We can see these effects significantly affect students these days, who, while no strangers to long hours have not yet learnt to balance work and home life, and as a result, are often not able to distinguish between the two, and this has significantly affected the performance of students in general.
The average rate of student suicide per day in India is 28, which adds up to an average of 10,000 cases per year. This rate has only spiked with the deteriorating mental health in students, even though conversations about mental health have been increasing because students are still scared to open up about their mental health issues. They do this lest they get distracted from their studies, or their parents end up hurting them even more by not believing them and stigmatising them as well.
With deteriorating mental health in students, comes issues regarding their physical health. When mental health gets affected, physical health gets affected automatically, as our brain is not only the seat of thought but also a regulatory organ, which is affected, can drastically affect our physical health, and affect our sleeping patterns, our eating habits and adding habits that are generally harmful to us, like biting our nails, smoking, drinking, consuming non-recreational drugs, and a lot of other issues that would be better covered in their a separate article.
Students already face mental fatigue from a load of work and the stress related to it, and the harmful habits that they pick up are often also detrimental and compound on the mental and physical fatigue of the students that they accumulate from online schooling. The fatigue has begun to develop due to the almost non-existent breaks, with orders from governments across the world stating that schools for the next year would start with a minimal interval in between transitions and that once these classes begin, there would be no vacations or breaks in 2021, until the year school year ends in 2022.
While students were expecting to receive breaks soon, this news puts a dampener on that hope and is setting them up, unfortunately, for even more tiredness and fatigue. With this news, and due to multiple other factors, we can observe that students are losing morale. The major morale dampener has been the news of continuous classes without breaks for a whole year, while a year with the current number of holidays itself is too tiring for most students. The less than helpful nature, of institutions and authorities, has also served to bring down the morale of students. Their morale has also been affected by the one factor that often keeps them normally going: not being able to meet their friends, which is understandable, since pandemic related social distancing restrictions have made it impossible to meet up without making plans with utmost
precautions, keeping guidelines in mind. A lot of times, due to the aforementioned load of schoolwork, they are not able to make these plans either, which only demoralises them more in the face of mounting schoolwork.
Students are also beginning to have complaints as to the limits of teaching possible in online schooling, especially for subjects with more practical methods of teaching, e.g., photography, or painting. While it may be easier to monitor the work, the process of disseminating the learning is often inefficient, as students do not catch onto the gist of the work as well as they would offline.
Given that we can see problems of fatigue, tiredness, loss of morale, less than optimal human contact, increasing schoolwork, non-existent breaks, and almost borderline inefficiency of practical subjects in online schooling, and the issues that these problems have caused students mentally and physically, we can say online tuition has definitely affected students’ mental and physical health, and that too for the worse.
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