Purpose: The study’s purpose was to explore how students were learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential mental health outcome(s) that different classroom learning modalities may have on kindergarten-12th grade school (i.e., K-12) students given that some of them were learning remotely or in-person, while others were doing some form of hybrid.

Methods: This study performed an extensive review of the literature, including health and educational sources from two government agencies, and three school districts in southwest Virginia. The target population for the literature review was K-12 students in the United States, with a focus on the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Findings: The literature reviewed suggests possible link between some learning modalities and K-12 students’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. They include anxiety, depression, sense of helplessness, isolation, and others.

Conclusion: While virtual instruction was more likely to lead to negative mental or emotional health, the literature implies possible link between in-person learning and positive mental health for students, which may be attributed to social interaction and receiving mental health services at school. Hybrid learning was the least studied and may be a critical component in addressing the gaps described with virtual and in-person instruction.

Recommendations: More research is needed in Virginia and across the U.S. to foster our understanding of the potential impact of different learning modalities on students’ mental health so as to help gauge best practices with a focus on addressing students’ mental health.



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