Social IsolationSocial isolation is the state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and other individuals and/or society. Social isolation occurs for long periods of time and impacts the social and emotional wellness of individuals.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures and resulted in students experiencing extended periods of social isolation. The profound and long-term effects and mental health risks of social isolation include anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Physical health risks include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and adult obesity.
Based on research from Hanover Research (2020) previous outbreaks, such as SARS and H1N1, has shown that post-traumatic stress scores in quarantined children can be four times higher when compared to their non-quarantined peers. “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been major spikes in levels of depression among California school students,” says State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “Even as schools opened for in person instruction in the 2021-22 school year many students may still be experiencing some form of social isolation---especially because many students have been off campus for nearly two years. It’s critical that our schools and districts can work with community-based organization that can demonstrate deep experience and a history of working to help counter social isolation.”
Social Isolation Supports Grant
The Social Isolation Supports grant funded through a two million dollar ($2,000,000) appropriation in the 2021-22 California State Budget (Assembly Bill 130, Chapter 44, Sec. 164) serves as a part of the ongoing efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19 on students and communities.
Hanover Research (2020) - K-12 Infobrief--Mitigating the Impact of Student Social Isolation