Virtual learning could impact the mental and emotional well-being of students, expert says

WATCH: Virtual learning could impact the mental and emotional well-being of students, expert says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Parents across the area have big decisions to make: should they have their children learn in school or virtually?

Some health professionals believed virtual learning could have an impact on the mental and emotional well-being of students.

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Dr. Rebekah Lemmons, Youth Villages therapist, said balancing the safety, mental and emotional needs for students during this pandemic is a tough balancing act.

“This is a time where our leaders have to make very difficult decisions,” said Lemmons.

Do the benefits of the traditional classroom setting outweigh the health risks of an entire school community?

Lemmons said there was no question that kids benefit the most from physical interaction.

“A lot of the youth and children have benefits from their mental health perspective and emotional health by being in the school setting and having some of those school typical resources and activities as well,” Lemmons said.

She added that it’s tough to replicate the structure of the classroom setting and you can’t discount the benefit of counselors and school programs.

“Many youth also get lots of different support from their teachers that are outside of just learning support,” Lemmons said. “So just having that person available, seeing their body language, helping to feed off of the energy of the teacher and the other youth in the classroom.”

There’s also the case of different learning styles and needs.

“Anyone who doesn’t do well with kind of that self-paced ability to maintain focus in terms of a virtual classroom may not do well with a different type of school curriculum,” she said.

Lemmons believed another factor that can’t be lost was that some children may not have ideal home environments.

“For some students who are in unsafe home environments, we can also see serious physical and emotional damage as well,” she said.

So, what can parents do?

Lemmons recommended parents create a stress-free environment and develop a consistent schedule for their children.