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Mental health concerns driving force behind increased remote learning
Student mental health concerns are the driving force behind new state regulations requiring daily teacher-student interaction and a minimum of 35 hours teacher-student time within a ten day school period. In fact, Plymouth school children were only a short amount of time away from the 35 hour minimum, but school officials felt there would be negligible value by only adding 5-10 minutes to remote learning days.
In requiring the 35 hour hybrid standard, the state cited CDC statistics showing a rise in child mental health visits: “Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health–related visits for children aged 5–11 and 12–17 years increased approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.” In a "regular" school year students receive in the neighborhood of 60 instructional hours, so 35 is still significantly short of the normal standard.
Different learning times levels for grade, middle and high school students have already been announced. Grade and middle school has started that process and high school students will start participating in four, twenty minute sessions per learn from home day starting next week. The new high school requirement far exceeds the grade and middle school learning time increase.
The state student learning time guidance found "Feelings of isolation and disconnection among our students are a contributing cause to this growing mental health crisis, the effects of which may persist for years...One way to prevent the isolation and disconnection that many students are feeling is frequent connections and interactions with teachers and peers. Such interactions are embedded in 'live' instructional methods, including in both in-person and remote synchronous learning modalities."