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Online learning can be a challenge, but we must find ways to cope | READER COMMENTARY

Dr. M. Roni Levin, pediatric ophthalmologist and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, offers tips to help children avoid eye strain with increased screen time due to virtual learning. Sept. 30, 2020.
Dr. M. Roni Levin, pediatric ophthalmologist and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, offers tips to help children avoid eye strain with increased screen time due to virtual learning. Sept. 30, 2020. (Amy Davis)

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we all do everyday things like shop, dine out, participate in sports, hangout with friends and educate our children. Reporter Hallie Miller’s story touches on just a few issues that parents are facing or will face with the new way we are educating our children during this pandemic (“Virtual learning a strain on eyes of state’s children,” Oct. 3). The issues that her article has shined a light on are eye strain from too much screen time, nearsightedness, obesity from not enough exercise and inattention problems or worsening of inattention problems for children who already suffer from these issues.

As a mom and health care worker who takes care of COVID-19 patients I understand the fears that parents have in sending their children back to school. Keeping my daughter healthy and safe is my number one priority. She is doing her first year of college online and has had to overcome many obstacles such as WiFi issues, Zoom freezing up, missing out on making new friends and learning from professors who struggle with teaching online. Many friends of mine have younger children, and they have had to overcome issues like Zoom not working, meltdowns, children’s frustration over not understanding certain learning materials, and getting their children to sit and stay focused for three or more hours.

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My teacher friends struggle too. One of my teacher friends is a first-grade teacher and every day her students cry because they are having trouble learning what she is teaching them via a computer screen. So being the awesome teacher that she is she ordered supplies such as workbooks and counting blocks among other things to help her students learn and be more successful with their at home learning. She even delivered the supplies to each individual student.

Online learning is not every parents' top choice in educating their children, but during this pandemic it is the only choice for some. Keeping parents aware of health issues involved with online learning is important in keeping our children healthy, happy and safe in these uncertain times. Reporter Hallie Miller is doing her part in helping keep parents informed about the health risk associated with online learning. I hope her and other reporters at The Baltimore Sun keep the articles coming. Online learning is just one of many things that could possibly be around for a while and knowing the possible health risk associated with online learning and how to overcome them is extremely important for the well-being of our children.

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Theresa Waterfield, Sparrows Point

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