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12 September 2020 : Clinical Research

The Effects of Online Homeschooling on Children, Parents, and Teachers of Grades 1–9 During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ying Zhao1ACEF, Yong Guo1AD, Yu Xiao1BCF, Ranke Zhu1BFG, Wei Sun1BDF, Weiyong Huang1BF, Deyi Liang1BF, Liuying Tang1BCD, Fan Zhang1F, Dongsheng Zhu1BG, Jie-Ling Wu1A*

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.925591

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e925591

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Beginning in the 2020 spring semester, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all school-age children in China were homeschooled via live/recorded broadcasts, online group communication, and software-based homework submission. This study assessed the effects of and proper preparation for this educational approach.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The homeschooling behaviors and feelings of school-age children were assessed with 2010 online surveys obtained separately from students, parents, and teachers of grades 1–9 in 15 Chinese provinces. Answers were compared among low- (grades 1–3), middle- (grades 4–6), and high- (grades 7–9) grade groups. The chi-square test was used to identify significant differences between groups.

RESULTS: We found that 76% of the respondents thought the homeschooling style was acceptable. However, teachers were concerned that students’ interest, focus, and academic performance would decline. Sixty-nine percent of the parents reported their children had more than 3 hours of daily screen time, and 82% of students had less than 2 hours of daily outdoor activity. Ninety-five percent of the parents were concerned about their children’s eyesight. Additionally, 17.6% of the students were suspected to have emotional or behavioral problems according to the parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) results. The Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) results of parents and teachers showed higher levels of anxiety than usual.

CONCLUSIONS: Students should continue the going-to-school rhythm at home to cope with changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Integrated grade-specific approaches are needed. Because long screen time and insufficient outdoor activities can severely affect children’s eyesight, appropriate eye-protection measures should be implemented.

Keywords: Computer Communication Networks, COVID-19, Quarantine, Schools

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750