The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of students across the United States to attend school using online platforms. The many hours students face in front of screens have raised concerns among students and teachers about the potential health side effects of screen-based distance learning.
Online schooling forces students to stare at computer screens during and after school. Even before the pandemic, many students would stare at their computer screens in order to play video games and engage in social media—but never to this extent. Some students and teachers now feel the effects of extended screen time associated with online schooling. In order to make sure students are both physically and mentally healthy, Loyola should institute a longer break in between classes. This will be very beneficial for students as many have already reported feelings of eye strain and fatigue.
Sophomore Lucas Damasco stated, “The main thing I’m concerned about is the strain it will have on my eyes. I have gotten headaches in the past from long amounts of screen time. I also feel that my posture has gotten substantially worse since I’m always hunched over and looking down at a screen.”
The amount of hours students and teachers use technology has also affected how they feel after school. Many students explain that they feel fatigue after the school day.
For example, Sophomore Pefnotious Salib said, “After my four Zoom classes, I always feel exhausted from looking at a screen for so long. I end up being on a screen for practically the entire day. It’s quite odd that online schooling is more tiring to me than physical schooling. I expected that having to get up, get dressed, take the 45-minute bus ride to Loyola, and having to sprint between Berendo and the third floor of Pinney Hall would be more tiring than online schooling, but it’s not.”
Although there are downsides to online schooling, it guarantees that students remain safe. Theology teacher Thomas Cendejas says, “I would be more anxious on campus before the disease is contained. Something about knowing that I am teaching in a safe way calms me down.”
Loyola has done so much to make the online learning experience as productive as possible; however, it is still important to realize that there are still potential health issues associated with computer screens. Online schooling is already difficult, and the short breaks in between classes makes it even harder for students to adapt to it. Loyola should give the students opportunities to take a step away from the technology by creating longer breaks. The addition of longer breaks will maximize efficiency and prove to be healthier for students.