Richmond Considers Shortened Virtual School Day Amid Complaints of ‘Mental Exhaustion’

Public school officials in Richmond, Va., are considering ways to offset mental exhaustion caused by virtual learning, especially among elementary school students.

Members of the Richmond School Board, who heard from teachers, parents and students this week on the matter, took into consideration concerns about long screen times, complex technology and a lack of teacher planning, which critics contend have led to stressful days and nights for students, a local CBS News affiliate reported.

“I am writing to support any motion to decrease the number of hours that students are required to be with their teachers online,” wrote parent Hannah Abbey. “We’re at the end of the second week and six hours a day for my child in kindergarten is pushing her too much. I’ve noticed an increase of aggression toward me in the form of angry outbursts three or more times a day. This is unlike my child. She’s doing her best but I’m afraid I’m asking too much of her.”

As a result of the concerns, RPS has proposed a shorter school day for elementary students with more virtual instruction happening in the morning and small group, asynchronous work in the afternoon, the affiliate reported.

The report further states that officials have proposed a shorter day for certain middle schools, switching from a six-period schedule to a four-period schedule. For high school, draft proposals include splitting four periods into synchronous and individual learning time, giving students — especially for those with afternoon jobs — more flexibility.

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