Learners Feel Psychological Impact of School Closures

Concerns have been raised regarding the psychological impact of school closures on learners due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Education psychologist Jessie-Anne Bird believes that it is important for parents to be mindful of the extent of this issue.



School closures have been used to stop the spread of the virus. But, this has raised concerns about the impact on pupils. Education psychologist Jessie-Anne Bird has said that it is important to start thinking about the extent of the impact of school closures and reopening due to Covid-19.

She adds that based on her observation regarding the issue, there has been a notable increase in stress levels among learners and that this has been a catalyst for other related psychological issues.

We're seeing children battling with the move from home school and going back into school. We're seeing quite big delays emerging in some of the foundational literacy skills, which is something that we have historically battled in South Africa.

Bird, further states that this may indicate the beginning phase of the long term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on school-going children. However, she also points out that some parents have gone through a lot of effort to fill the gap between teachers and parents.

Additionally, she also advises that it is just as important for parents to monitor changes in a learner's behavioural patterns. These changes include changes in attitude, sleeping patterns, anxiety or even changes in their academic progress.

It is also about being very aware of your child's needs academically, are they keeping up with their peers? How are they doing with their academic skills? Are you noticing gaps as you're now more involved in their homework and day to day learning? and it's about being able to look at these things and these questions early.

She also said that these are important things for parents to observe and discuss with teachers so that it is more convenient for parents to understand whether their child needs further support interventions. 

With the vaccination rollout set to include children aged 18 and below Bird suggest that she perhaps consider finding out what their children understand about vaccines in order to understand the source of any confusion they may have. And more importantly, ensure that they know that they are being listened to.


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