Published: 2021-02-08 13:37
Last Updated: 2021-04-10 21:45
Parents in the suburbs of the United States said Monday that the prolonged school closures aiming to curb the coronavirus pandemic are taking a toll on children's mental health and hampering their ability to learn and grow, by not being allowed to go to school.
A psychologist and mother of two in Arlington, Virgina said that she started noticing signs of depression in her son after eight weeks of distance learning.
Caputo showed AFP reporters a sign which said, "I cry without my friends" that her children made for a rally to demand the reopening of public schools, she then showed another sign which said "I'm not learning on screens."
In another nearby Virginia area, nine-year-old Daniel Mooney sits all day in his basement as he follows classes on his computer via distance learning. "It makes me feel lonely because I'm just sitting down here in the basement all by myself, all day, pretty much almost every day. And there's really nothing I can do about it. The only thing I can really do is say that I really, really want to be back in school," he said.
Notably, three weeks ago, President Joe Biden pitched a $175 billion plan to get children back into public schools whilw bolstering finances for colleges and universities nearly a year after the coronavirus pandemic rattled public education systems in the US.
The plan which was announced Jan. 21, was a part of a larger economic stimulus, including $130 billion for public elementary, middle and high schools, and approximately $35 billion for institutions of higher education.
In light of the stimulus funding, public schools would be able to use the funding for several things, including the reduction of class sizes to adhere to social distancing; improve ventilation; hire more nurses and janitors; provide protective equipment such as facemasks etc.
Schools would use the funding not only to address the severe academic learning loss incurred by students during the era of COVID-19 closures, but also to address social and emotional impacts of the pandemic and student's mental health needs.
Biden pledged to open some schools within the first 100 days of his presidency.