of Ravishankar University–B 34 (1), 29-34 (2021)
Covid-19 related School
Closure Impact on School going Children & Adolescents of Raipur,
Shukla1, Jini Shukla2, Ajay Singh3 and Sudhir
Professor, Department of Biotechnology, School of Science and Technology, The
Neotia University, WB, India
Zenith, Raipur, CG, India
G.H.S.S. Durg, CG, India
ScholarDepartment of Mass Communication, Kushabhau Thakre Patrakarita Avam
Jansanchar Vishwavidyalaya Raipur, Chhattisgarh-492010, India
06 March 2021; Revised: 27 March 2021; Accepted: 01 April 2021]
Abstract: The Covid-19
induced strict measures like strict lockdown caused schools to be shut down.
The classes turned into non-contact and online. This caused children and
adolescents to stay at home and take classes from the comfort of their rooms.
The lockdown had a positive impact on sleep pattern of children and adolescents
as they are not under pressure to wake up early nor they have serious deadlines
to submit homework. The data of children and adolescents were collected by the
means of questionnaire which was distributed to them. The questionnaire was
taken back and analysed. The lack of pressure on students has helped them get
positive sleep patterns. Of 44 respondents who took part in the study 68%
reported change in sleep time. Out of these 88% were from urban area.
Similarly, 57% respondents reported sleeping better during the lockdown and
subsequent unlock periods. 68% students experienced that they do not require
help in waking up which was around 41% before Covid-19 induced lockdown. This
happened because students wake up late as there was no pressure to wake up
early. This study again provided evidence in support of late start of school.
The policy makers and school administrators should consider the increasing
amount of evidence and change the school timings in such a way that student is
not forced to wake up too early.
Keywords: Covid-19, Lockdown, sleep timing,
children and adolescents, school timing, online classes
The current pandemic time of
Covid-19 has affected almost every person. Children and adolescents have been
the most vulnerable group which has been affected by the pandemic and the
subsequent harsh measures governments have placed to stop the spread of the
virus. Following the closure of schools due to Covid-19 pandemic the teaching
has shifted to remote and non-contact. In India, the whole 2020-21 session for
school going children is about to be finished while they have been learning at
home through online classes. Only students of specific age-groups and classes
have been allowed to attended schools that also for doubt clearing sessions.
This has happened all over the globe as by April 2020 schools had been
suspended nationwide in 188 countries as per UNESCO (Lee, 2020).
The changes in sleep-wake
pattern in the age group of children and adolescents are seen. This is due to
fact that age this age there is significant biological and social changes which
causes transformations in cognitive, behavioural and emotional functions. As inadequate sleep among children and
adolescents can cause alarming and endemic health problems, many school systems
worldwide are implementing later school start time programs to counteract the
negative impact of this phenomenon (Alfonsi et
children and adolescents have been getting less sleep than the required amount
which has been cited as reasons for many problems (Wheaton et al., 2015). This
sleep deprivation leads to negative impact on mental and physical health of
young people (Owens and Weiss, 2017). Adequate sleep has been recognized to
play an important role in learning and health of children and adolescents
(Shochat et al., 2014). It has been recommended that the school timings should
not be before 08:30 AM to allow optimum sleep during night. The lack of sleep
has been implemented in poor school performance, learning capacity,
neurobehavioural functions and it can lead to students developing sleep
disorders in long run (Alfonsi et al., 2020). Short et al. (2013) found that
lack of sleep is associated with poor academic performance, depressive mood and
lack of alertness in school students. It was found that longer sleep duration
in children was associated with lower adiposity indicators, better emotional
regulation, better academic achievement, and better quality of life/well-being
while the relationship between sleep duration and cognition, harms/injuries, and
cardiometabolic biomarkers was not clear (Chaput et al., 2016).
Sleep is important as it is necessary for the ability to think clearly, to be vigilant and alert,
and sustain attention and for consolidation of memory (Worley, 2018). Sleep
deprivation can lead to changes in emotional memories and can cause changes in
mood by selecting and remembering negative memories (Stickgold and Walker,
2013). A consensus has been developed about the amount of sleep an individual
needs and for an adult it is about seven to seven and half hours while this
increases in children and adolescents (Watson et al., 2015).
With the lockdown initiated in
many countries due to the spread of Covid-19 virus the schools are closed and
the classes are being conducted through online mode. This has resulted in a
positive outcome at least for children and adolescents. The time of their sleep
has increased and the rest they are getting should be better for their future.
To understand how the current situation is turning in favour of the children
the current study was undertaken.
The situation amid Covid-19 is
grim and schools and students have not remained unaffected by it. The classes
have turned online and non-contact. This has affected the learning behaviour of
students as they took time to adjust to online mode of teaching and learning.
Even then the online mode has its benefits as it is providing students with
much needed rest and less stressful learning.
present study was undertaken to identify if the lockdown caused due to Covid-19
has resulted into any change in sleep patterns along with any other changes
which would have resulted due to children staying at home and schools being
closed. The questionnaire was prepared, and children were asked to provide as authentic
answers to the questions as possible.
questions included if there has been change in sleeping time of respondents,
the reason for any such change, if they had felt sleepy during daytime before
lockdown, how they used to wake up before and during lockdown, if they slept
better before or, during the lockdown, change in eating time and any other
changes they could point out.
questionnaire was provided to children and adolescents of age groups from 11-12
to 17-18 years. The children and adolescents belonged to urban and rural
backgrounds. The study also tried to identify any variation in change in
patterns among the urban and rural settings of the children and adolescents.
The answers were then analysed to
assess any variations from the time before Covid-19 lockdown.
Total of 44 respondents answered
the questionnaire. 26 of the respondents were from rural background while 18
were from urban area. The respondents from the rural background were from
vernacular language school run by the state government while those from urban
area were from different English medium schools. Table no 1 provides the
details of the number of respondents for each question. The same data is also
presented in the form of graph which makes it easy to understand. The
questionnaire is given in Appendix 1.
Of the total 44 respondents 30
informed that they have experienced the change in sleeping time during the
lockdown period. 14 of the respondents did not report any change in sleeping
time during the lockdown period. This amounts to 68% percentage of respondents
experiencing the change in sleeping time during the lockdown period in which
the schools were shut down and the classes were shifted online.
reason given by the respondents for the change in sleeping time was the
shifting of classes to online mode. The school timing in online mode has not
changed but as the students must take the classes from home the timing required
to get up early and get ready is not required. This has enabled children and adolescents
to sleep for longer duration as compared to the time when the schools were
open, and classes were taking place face to face.
Out of 14 respondents who
reported no change in sleeping time, 12 belong to rural areas. The government
school timings of that area are from 10:00 AM which is the reason most of the
respondents who have experienced no change in sleeping time come from that
Children and adolescents from
urban area also experienced sleepiness during classes before Covid-19 related
lockdown. Of the 44 respondents 10 reported the feeling of sleepiness during
the classes. All the respondents who reported sleepiness belong to urban area
and are from 7th to 9th standard when the changes in the
body as well as social network is huge and so is the pressure on the children
and adolescents. This sleepiness during classes was not experienced by any
respondent during the lockdown period.
Quality of sleep
57% respondents reported that
they have experienced better sleep the Covid-19 lockdown while 25% reported
that they used to sleep better before the lockdown. Only 18% experienced no
change in the quality of sleep before or during the lockdown.
Means of waking
One of the questions asked to the
respondents was about the mode of waking up if they needed some help or that
they woke up without help. 59% of the respondents reported that they required
help to wake up before the Covid-19 lockdown. During lockdown, the number of
the percentage of respondents waking up without help increased tremendously to
The respondents also reported the
change in time of play as most playing for longer time than previously. They
also reported change in eating time with some of them reporting that they are
eating better than before. 61% of the respondents reported change in time of
eating while one individual reported that their diet has decreased which could
be attributed to lack of activity from their part.
It has been reported previously
that decrease in daytime sleepiness and increased daytime alertness is the
result of extended and improved sleep (Gruber et al., 2020). We have seen in
this current study that during lockdown period and even during unlock when the
schools are closed for physical classes the children and adolescents are
reporting change in sleeping time which have resulted in better quality of
sleep. The age group at which
biological changes are taking places requires more amount of sleep, in children
and adolescents both but school timings do not help in this regard.
68% reporting changes in sleeping time during the lockdown and subsequent
unlock period when the schools are closed for physical classes it shows that
previously the children and adolescents were not getting the amount of sleep,
they needed. 88% of the urban respondents have reported change in sleeping
time. This shows that children and adolescents in cities and towns are under
more pressure than their rural counterparts. In contrast, only 54% of the
respondents from rural area reported change in sleeping time during the
lockdown and the unlock periods. This can be attributed to not only the
difference in lifestyle between rural and urban areas but also to the fact that
the schools in government run schools in the rural area used to open at 10:00
AM which is an ideal time for schools to open. Out the respondents who reported
no change in sleeping time 85% belonged to rural area which again shows that
the lifestyle and school timing in rural area are better suited for getting
quality sleep for children and adolescents.
23% of the respondents reported sleepiness during classes and all belong to
urban area. The overbearing pressure to perform is one of the reasons why
children and adolescents from urban areas have to wake for longer time and get
up early which play a havoc with their sleep-wake cycle. This also shows
negatively in their performance in the long run. The sleepiness during classes
or daytime has not been reported by any respondent during the lockdown or
unlock periods. This clearly shows that as the quality of sleep along with
duration increased the fatigue in children and adolescents decreased which
thereby increased the alertness in them.
respondents reported that experienced better sleep during the Covid-19 lockdown
and unlock periods than before it. Very few of them reported no change in
quality of sleep and all of them belonged to rural area. Those who reported
that they experienced better sleep before Covid-19 lockdown nearly 87%
respondents belonged to rural area. The sole reason could be that these
respondents performed more physical work than their urban counterparts before
the Covid-19 lockdown and therefore were able to sleep better while during the
Covid-19 lockdown as the activities were totally banned the respondents from
rural area did not had other things to do so where not physically exhausted
thus experienced decrease in quality of sleep.
response which informs us about the lack of sleep before the Covid-19 lockdown
period is the mode of waking up. 59% respondents required help either from
mother or alarm to wake up before the Covid-19 lockdown. During the lockdown
and subsequent unlock nearly 68% respondents can wake up without any help. This
factor clearly indicates that as the quality and quantity of sleep increased in
the children and adolescents the need for help for waking up decreased.
from changes in sleeping time and quality of sleep of the respondents they also
reported change in time of eating and increased playing time. Changes in time
of eating can be attributed to the fact the children and adolescents were at
home during time of lunch and not at school. The increase in playing time will
help better growth in children and adolescents which is also a positive to come
out of the lockdown.
Even though the lockdown and
subsequent unlock periods have helped children and adolescents in providing
quantitative and qualitative sleeping time they are not without their own
problems. Children and adolescents interact with each other socially and
physically and due to shutting down of schools indefinitely they can develop
symptoms of anxiety (Rehman et al., 2020). Children and adolescents as a group
engage with each other in classes and playground and develop healthy relations
with each other. They also learn teamwork with these interactions. With strict
measures undertaken by governments to stop the spread of Covid-19 children and
adolescents were not only stopped from going to schools but also from public
gardens and playgrounds. This restricted their interaction with each other.
This can result in not only anxiety but also other mental issues in long run.
Few studies have reported that due to continuous lockdown in pandemic periods
the abuse of children and adolescent in family set up also rises and there has
been increase in police complaints due to violence against children and
adolescents in family (Lee, 2020).
The study has provided proof that
the lockdown restriction of closing schools has been beneficial for children
and adolescents. Their quantity and quality of sleep has increased and
therefore their alertness during daytime. The online classes have given much
needed reprieve to children and adolescents from the hectic schedule of
learning in physical mode.
has been reported in many earlier works that late school start helps in better
performance of the children and adolescents. It improves the quality and
quantity of sleep in the students and therefore helps develop many aspects of
their life. With the lockdown applied worldwide in April 2020 the schools are
still shut in many countries in January 2021 which has helped the students get
better sleep. This should be noted by the policy makers and school
administrators and they should implement such timings which allow students to
undertake quality sleep. Another aspect of lockdown is that it endangers
students of developing anxiety and those children and adolescents who already
have some mental issues are under more danger of developing serious issues
therefore now the schools should be open even though with restricted timings
and lesser number of students per class.
Number of respondents for questions asked in the questionnaire
in Sleeping Time
of walking up before Lockdown
of walking up during Lockdown
in eating time
The authors acknowledge the contribution
of all the respondents who took time in filling the questionnaire. The authors
also acknowledge the contribution of the reviewers who helped in getting this
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Questionnaire used to obtain data after ascertaining the age
Q1. Has the sleeping time changed?
Q2. If answer to the Q1 is ‘yes’ then what has been the
reason? (Answer to this question from most of the students was the change in
Q3. Did they ever felt sleepy during classes before corona
Q4. How did the woke up before corona lockdown?
Q5. How did the woke up during and after the lockdown?
Q6. Did they slept better before corona?
Q7. Has their eating changed?
Q8. Any other change? (For this question few replied that
they have become less serious in studies due to online classes)