Remote Students Are More Stressed Than Their Peers in the Classroom, Study Shows

The study by NBC News and Challenge Success is one of the first to shed light on differences between students who are online-only and those in classrooms

Schools remain on lockdown
Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images

There’s no question that the pandemic has been hard on children, whether or not their schools have reopened. A flood of research in recent months has found alarming spikes in depression and anxiety among children and their parents. Multiple studies have found that students — especially those with disabilities and from low-income families — are learning less than they should.

But a new study from NBC News and Challenge Success, a nonprofit affiliated with the Stanford Graduate School of Education, is one of the first to shed light on the differences between students whose classes have been exclusively online and those who’ve been able to attend in person at least one day per week.

The survey last fall of more than 10,000 students in 12 U.S. high schools, found that students who’d spent time in the classroom reported lower rates of stress and worry than their online peers.

While just over half of all students surveyed said they were more stressed about school in 2020 than they had been previously, the issue was more pronounced among remote students. Eighty-four percent of remote students reported exhaustion, headaches, insomnia or other stress-related ailments, compared to 82 percent of students who were in the classroom on some days and 78 percent of students who were in the classroom full time.

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