Education is a very vast category, ranging far beyond the limits of just school. In order for students to fully harness and cultivate their undoubtedly prolific abilities, they must indulge in numerous activities, ranging from school to music to sports and other extracurricular activities. COVID-19 has made much of education unobtainable by millions of people, in countries all across the world. Even with enforced measures of distance learning, hundreds of analyses have proven that remote learning did not work. Test scores dropped by a whopping percent, especially in areas with a dearth of necessities such as technology. The most prominent results were found in the realms of elementary and middle school students, primarily due to their not fully-developed independence. Often, students need a teacher to be right by their side, helping them. And even when schools reopen, that will be hardly feasible.
According to measures carried out by health organizations such as CDC, all students returning to school in the fall will be required to wear masks, social distance, disinfect desks and school supplies, and eat lunch in isolated environments to prevent the spread. This will bear tremendous impacts not only on education and test scores, but on mental health, in both the near and far future; suicide and depression rates amongst adolescents have envisaged a dire spike over the past couple months. It goes to show that human connection is a form of solace for all of us; we can barely live without it.
I recently conducted a study with some of my fellow classmates, and found that over 48% of them will not be returning to school in the autumn and will be transitioning to a fully virtual learning environment. Although there are many downsides to distanced education, there are just a couple benefits:
- Students will be able to continue learning on snow days, as there is the available option of a virtual system. An English teacher I conversed with mentioned that, “We are now fairly comfortable with online school, as we have become well acquainted with it since the commencement of quarantine. This will give us the opportunity to provide education even in times that would usually require cancellations.”
- Transportation will not serve as an issue for those who struggle with commuting to school.
- Flexibility to study in any location convenient and sustainable for students.
The ultimate question is: How can we wield the ongoing events to our advantage, and use them to better the education system for all students?
And the answer to that is: We give them options. We allow for them to select choices that adhere to their comfort. If they have previous medical issues such as asthma, it is better that those students remain in the dominions of distance learning and do not revert to regularity. However, if students and parents feel they are ready to return to school, they should be able to go with that inclination.
Education has been one of society’s most prodigious challenges for a lengthy period of time. It is important, nevertheless, that we dispute this predicament, because as the quote goes “The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow – and our future is often encompassed by their childhood.”