Earlier in March 2020, the WHO officially labeled COVID-19 as a pandemic. Most countries soon began to implement measures to stop the spread of this disease. These measures greatly impacted the global economy in an unprecedented way. The US, along with many governments created strict social containment measures to limit the size and speed of infection, including the closure of schools and universities. According to the US Census Bureau over 90% of school-age children were subject to distance learning throughout the school year.
Why Schools Closed
Countries, like China, who implemented strict quarantine and containment measures showed a noticeably fast recovery rate from the global pandemic. The first step in countering the transmission of the virus is closure of all public spaces where multiple people interact on a daily basis. That is why schools and universities were among the first to be addressed.
The Impact Of COVID-19 On Education
The COVID-19 pandemic affected every institution in the US and the whole world. It is obvious that the world was not prepared for an event like this, therefore all contingency measures came at a price. Education is one of the most affected institutions in the US on many levels including:
1. Schedule Delays
All tests and even admissions to schools and universities were halted countrywide. Some states went as far as to cancel the standardized tests, while others thought of extending the year to make up for lost days.
2. Adapting to Changes
University and school staff had to change all their learning materials to be available online on a scale that is unprecedented. This created difficulties in adapting to the new system for both the students and the teachers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the changes and delays in the education system in the US has lowered the student’s performance significantly.
Although technology has already been used hand in hand with conventional education methods, and sometimes even full time in distance learning, the sudden and overnight switch towards completely relying on technology created challenges for both teachers and students. Furthermore, students find it difficult to adapt to dealing with the workload on their own. That is why some students are becoming increasingly interested in custom essay writing services. One of such professional writing companies is Custom Writings which helps students to take control of their studies timely and cheap.
3. Struggles of Low-Income Students
A huge problem with the opting towards distance, technology-based learning has created an even bigger challenge for low income families. A survey by the US Census Bureau found that over 85% of students of families with annual income of $100,000 or above use online resources since the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, 65% of students in families with incomes lower than $50,000 a year said they use online resources.
Distance Learning Solutions
While the social distancing measures are hard and may seem frustrating, there are many solutions available to keep students productive and able to keep their grades at school.
An increasing number of educational institutions are choosing to resume their learning activities online. This is done through video chat software, that enables students to talk with each other and their teacher to simulate the classroom to some extent.
Some students are using online educational resources that have always been around and allow students to replace live teaching with videos and activities that students can utilize at home.
2. External Programs
Many educational private companies like Coursera started to provide free online courses in order to encourage students to keep learning regardless of school delays. UNESCO released a list of free online resources to allow people to find the courses and material they are interested in without effort.
3. Parental Intervention
Parents are needed to become more involved with children in the school-age more than ever. A big contributor to the drop in performance in school children is the lack of organization that was previously provided by school schedules and attendance rules. That is why parents must take some of the burden that was provided by the physical presence of a teacher and the organized educational system.
4. Online tutors
Some students, especially students that require special attention, need a more personalized approach to their learning process. Some teachers, professors, and skilled students know this and have adapted to the new situation by providing personalized to students in order to help them catch up with the required learning goals.
The Glass Half Full
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted all our lives. However, some of the new changes we have to adapt to are long overdue. For example, the capability of schools to provide more home-based learning materials needed to happen a long time ago. The way the novel virus was capable of disrupting all the education system gave us a chance to study our learning approaches and a lot of new education-based services have emerged and developed their business models to the benefit of students all over the world.
More universities are offering full degree courses through online teaching. The development of virtual meeting software by large companies accelerated since the beginning of the pandemic and nowadays, higher education is more accessible to students of all circumstances all over the world.
The efforts taken by the governments to counter the spreading of the coronavirus have a high impact on students of all levels. However, the benefits of social distancing protocols save thousands if not millions of lives. By understanding the full impact of restrictions and delays on the education system we can find ways to improve the quality of distance learning and self-learning through proper use of technology which help adjust to homeschooling during COVID-19.