*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on NPR.
With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.
The poll of 849 teenagers, by Common Sense Media, conducted with SurveyMonkey, found that as schools across the country transition to some form of online learning, 41% of teenagers overall, including 47% of public school students, say they haven’t attended a single online or virtual class.
This broad lack of engagement with online learning could be due to many factors, including resource gaps. In the past few weeks, school districts have purchased and started loaning out hundreds of thousands of laptops and tablets and worked with telecom providers to get families set up with the Internet. But the need is large. Before the pandemic, it was estimated that about 12 million students had no broadband access at home.
The survey suggests the nation’s young people also have a lot on their minds to distract them from online learning. It found that 4 out of 5 teens say they’re following news about the coronavirus pandemic closely. More than 60% said they are worried that they, or someone in their family, will be exposed to the virus and that it will have an effect on their family’s ability to earn a living.