Expect adjustment issues as schools reopen fully, warn experts
Disruption to her learning caused by the pandemic stressed a student who is taking her O-level examinations this year.
The uncertainty over the timeline of her exams and the self-directed nature of home-based learning (HBL) made her anxious, her educational psychologist, Ms Hayley Su, told The New Paper.
The student could not focus and began to procrastinate. She was able to deal with her stress only when her cohort returned to daily classes on June 2.
But experts warned that sudden adjustment issues may surface after schools reopened fully yesterday.
Parents and teachers should pay more attention to students' behaviour and performance during this transition period to pick these issues up early, they said.
Ms Su, who practises at Thrive Family clinic, said Covid-19 measures in schools, tweaked grading systems or assessment formats, and changing modes of learning may cause some students stress.
Social workers from the Singapore Children's Society (SCS) said some students were anxious about their parents' loss of income or about having to sit the national exams.
Online chats from primary school pupils to SCS' Tinkle Friend helpline jumped from an average of 24 chats a day in April to 47 chats a day last month.
Mr Martin Chok, assistant director of youth services at Care Corner, said some of his young clients were sleeping past midnight and waking up in the afternoon during HBL. The time they spent on mobile devices also spiked from two to three hours daily before HBL, to seven to eight hours. He added: "School absenteeism might pick up if they can't get used to the rhythm."
Mr Benedict Kuah, deputy director of JYC @ Children's Society, said some students might play truant, especially if they were not diligent in HBL work.
Mr Chok said: "The other issue is that those who did not have a conducive environment at home for HBL and might have fallen behind are now quite stressed about having to play catch-up."
To help their children through this transition period, parents should encourage them to set short-term goals.
The achievement of these goals should be celebrated to give them a sense of motivation and reassurance, Ms Su said.
Mr Chok said it is important for parents and educators to look out for changes in students' behaviour.
"Moodiness, loss of appetite, not wanting to talk - these are all signs, and parents can refer their children to school counsellors or call the National Care Hotline if they persist."