A man traveled to Wuhan from Washington State and was diagnosed with novel coronavirus on January 21 2020. The situation has been complete haywire throughout the world ever since, especially in the United States. The US death toll has crossed 80, 032. At least 1.3 million cases have been registered in the United States alone. There hasn’t been even one industry that has escaped the grasp of this deadly pandemic, including education. So, let’s check out the three significant ways this pandemic has affected the future of today- STUDENTS.
1. Online learning is the new buzzword.
The COVID-19 impacts are mostly negative. But, it can act as a catalyst in the development of online learning methods in the US. Since students aren’t allowed to leave homes, it could pave the way for a smart alternative to lecture-based traditional learning. The students from Hong Kong have already started using several educational interactive tools to continue their studies. China, for example, used live television broadcasts to teach over 120 million students. All in all, online learning is going to be the NEXT BIG THING after this pandemic is over.
Online learning encompasses the following:
- Online degree/diploma programs
You don’t have to miss your degrees or diplomas in this pandemic situation. There are several online learning programs to help you out. Harvard, for example, consists of online learning programs on its website. Participate in the programs of your choice and attain your degree through online tests.
The top educational institutes in the USA have made 2000+ online programs accessible to students on their websites. From Data Science to English Literature, these programs consist of most subjects available in the US curriculum. Companies like Scholastic and Coursera have also built learning programs for students.
- Online assignment/tutoring help
The COVID-19 outbreak has also caused tons of tuition centers to shut down. Thus, several developers have come up with the idea of online tutoring or assignment help. You can fix your session with a tutor at your convenient time. Clarify all your doubts related to a specific subject matter during that session.
Online platforms such as 51Talk of China Online Education Group and Rarejob Philippines saw an increasing demand since February. You can attend online classes on a variety of open-source LMS solutions such as Canvas, Google Classroom, Edmodo, etc. All you need is a mobile device or laptop and an Internet connection to attend these classes.
- Interactive educational apps
The interactive educational apps are perfectly suitable for kindergarten students. These apps also help in strengthening the bond between parents and their kids. Little kids find it amusing to use those apps. From the English alphabets to simple maths, parents can use these apps to educate their kids for a variety of purposes.
Middle or high school students can also use the interactive apps to get familiar with complicated topics such as Differential Calculus. Choose the app you want from the Play Store. Download it on your mobile device and use it as and when required.
The online learning techniques are the best solution to educate students when schools are shutting down due to this pandemic. But, the problem is not every student in the United States possess a mobile device or an Internet connection. So, getting an education during such dismal times can be very difficult for them.
2. Schools have shutdown
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to total closures of schools, colleges and universities throughout the world. The school closures affected almost 1.723 billion students worldwide. Nearly 489 schools or school districts closed as of March 17 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The school lunch program was the only source of food for thousands of underprivileged students in the States. Thus, school closures have led to a rise in food insecurity among US students.
Here are some adverse consequences of school closures:
- Interrupted learning
School provides essential learning. Therefore, closing down of schools deprives youth and children of growth and development. The disadvantages are more visible to underprivileged learners who have fewer educational opportunities beyond school.
- Confusion and stress for learners
The school closures create confusion and stress for students of all ages. Children feel confused about how to maintain connections with teachers to support learning in these hard times. Transitions to digital learning can be messy and frustrating for some as well.
- Challenges in remote learning
Many institutions are encouraging remote learning from home post-shutting down of schools. Learning from homes at scale brings forth both human and technical challenges. Teachers may find it hard to communicate with the students and the latter may find it hard to focus.
- Higher economic costs
Most working parents tend to stay back home to take care of their children due to school closures. This results in decreased productivity and considerable wage loss. Shutting down schools can lead to high economic costs in the United States.
As per the reports from OECD, over 421 million children’s education was affected due to the school closures. Thus, most parents are looking forward to homeschooling their kids even if the schools are shut down. Here again, only the privileged ones will be able to make the most of this opportunity. And the underprivileged ones will not be able to afford the costs of homeschooling.
3. Strong psychological impacts on students
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in strict social isolation and quarantine measures. Graduation ceremonies have been canceled. Students’ life has also been brought to a standstill. International students remain stranded on desolate campuses. 85% of working students say that they will need additional financial support. 95% of students are anxious due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy and 81% of them are worried about their future job prospects. In short, the coronavirus has affected the psychology of students more than we could imagine.
Let’s see how the lockdown has affected the students’ psychology:
- Lack of schooling structure causes stress.
As per Jena Lee, MD of pediatric consultation and emergency psychiatry at David Geffen School of Medicine said that children would primarily be challenged during this time. It is mainly due to a lack of structure associated with the closing down of schools.
The daily structure is essential to children in their emotional and psychological development. The consistency of predictable rules, consequences and schedules teach children how to behave and develop self-discipline. Thus, the shutting down of schools can cause behavioral problems among children.
- Increased rate of anxiety
The nationwide lockdown has shown a steady increase in the prevalence of anxiety, depression and suicidality among college students in the United States. The college campus was the only place for several first-year students to foster a sense of belonging and connection, thereby eliminating any negative thoughts from their minds. With the campuses shut down, it can be a huge challenge for them to fight their mental battles.
The anxiety can trigger due to the presence of uncertainties surrounding the virus along with the change in admission criteria in different colleges. Initiatives such as the pass-fail system can help reduce this stress and anxiety for students.
- Prolonged feeling of loneliness
Loneliness has become a familiar facet of our everyday lives due to strict social distancing measures. According to research, loneliness increases the risk of anxiety and depression. The prolonged feeling of loneliness worsens physical health and leads to poor health behaviors. Most students get the opportunity to spend time with friends only on college campuses. So, the lockdown may cause students to adopt substance abuse to cope up with the loneliness.
Several studies have suggested that loneliness is more frequent in older adults than it is in younger adults. We are living in a period of objective isolation. That means even the petty transportation challenges may force may students to give up what little interaction they usually had with friends.
The psychological impacts of lockdown are unbelievingly strong among students of all ages. Counselors should come up with free sessions online at least once a week to make sure the kids are doing okay.
From the economic to physiological and psychological, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected students in all possible aspects. Measures such as online classes and homeschooling may benefit only a specific portion of students and that’s unfair. Governments should try to provide each student with equal education and health opportunity.
Olaila lee is a content manager at a reputed firm in Australia. She also offers reliable essay help to students through Myassignmenthelp.com. Ruth loves to play soccer on the weekends.