(StatePoint) The typical routine a school year brings has been lost this year, as students adjust to hybrid or fully remote learning models and ever-changing reopening plans. According to McKinsey, 75% of the 50 largest school districts in the country have decided to start remotely, and the UN estimates that 94% of the world’s student population has been impacted.
While the disruption the coronavirus has caused the educational system is clear, the long-term impact on students’ mental health is even greater cause for concern. Research recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that young people who are lonely are up to three times more likely to develop depression, creating mental health issues that could last nearly a decade. The study found that more than one-third of adolescents reported a high level of loneliness during lockdown. While these findings are alarming, utilizing service-learning to supplement traditional curriculum can give students a sense of purpose and connection, helping mitigate loneliness in a digital environment.