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As Covid-19 gripped the world, teachers, parents, and students found ways to continue learning. To many, a pandemic isn’t a sufficient reason to keep students out of school. Educators around the world are getting creative to get students back in schools. The pandemic proved how important education is to our society.
Prior to Covid, the only reason learning would be on pause would be snow days or other weather elements that created unsafe conditions. Schools quickly transitioned classes to online formats to keep students on track before the end of the school year.
The sudden change brought on by Covid created a massive disturbance in students’ lives. The pandemic added to the responsibilities and worries of already stressed-out students. As a result, teachers and faculty increased flexibility on graduation requirements, attendance, and other policies. Students pursuing degrees in performing arts and other majors that really only work through in-person attendance found ways to give students creative freedom by altering course structures and waiving requirements that couldn’t be accommodated by online learning.
Schools want their students to succeed. Earning a degree is a major accomplishment. Even an associates degree can greatly alter a graduate’s life. Schools don’t want the pandemic to dissuade students from enrolling or continuing their education. Deans and counselors will continue to evaluate the requirements and make sure that changes from Covid won’t negatively impact a student’s chances for graduation.
No one in the education industry is going through these changes all alone. Students are learning right alongside their professors on how to cope with Covid regulations and continue learning. Teachers and faculty don’t have any more expertise regarding the virus and virtual learning than their students. Everyone is entering this new territory together.
This unique situation puts teachers and students on a level playing field for determining appropriate steps to resume learning and stay safe at the same time. Instructors and their students are collaborating in unprecedented ways to help everyone cope with the ever-changing situation.
Students and teachers are more unified than ever to find ways to navigate the pandemic successfully. Instructors still want to bestow wisdom on their pupils just as students still want to graduate with their bachelor’s degrees they have worked so hard to earn. The unity of teachers and students is helping the education industry grow stronger despite the pandemic.
Most students prefer to learn in person, and it’s not guaranteed that a student has the means, space, or ability to learn at home. Many schools, both college and K-12, are doing their best to get students in the classroom. For some reason, K-12 schools aren’t responsible for as many Covid outbreaks as college campuses.
The USA Today reported that 19 of 25 of the cities with the worst Covid outbreaks are home to a major college or university. The risk of campuses spreading the virus forced students and teachers back to remote learning. This shows that there is something to be learned from the K-12 approach.
According to the US Census Bureau, during the 2008 crisis, college enrollment increased, especially at lower degree levels. The lack of job opportunities and increased competition forced young people to pursue degrees to increase their chances of landing a job.
The Covid pandemic causes the highest unemployment rate in decades. Millions of people were let go of their jobs and forced to apply for unemployment. Those fresh out of their jobs made landing positions for recent grads more difficult. Students right out of school, high school and college, now have to compete for the few jobs available with people who have years of experience and more education.
Covid-19 is changing this trend. The economy’s instability took away the low-skill jobs that students were previously using to afford their schooling. The pandemic was more detrimental to low-income students. Low-income students are more likely to contribute to their family’s finances or have to take care of elderly family members than those students who come from wealthier families.
The pandemic is a disaster of almost unprecedented proportions. However, if you’re looking for the silver lining, you could very well argue that it came at “the right time”. Imagine dealing with the consequences of a global viral outbreak a few decades—or even years—ago, when the technologies that enable remote work and online learning weren’t so firmly established. It would have been complete mayhem.
Fortunately, Covid-19 struck the world at a time when the systems that support online work and eLearning are fully in place. In our heavily digitized world, a very significant portion of the global population has the skills needed to carry on working and learning from their computer at home. For example, according to Statista, more than 87 percent of people in the US have access to the Internet.
But it goes further than that. For years now, developers have been working on the tools that have proved essential for learning during the pandemic. By the time the pandemic hit, there were excellent communication software programs in the market to facilitate dialogue and the exchange of information between teacher and pupil. Some of these include communication platform Slack and video-conferencing app Zoom.
In addition, students had access to apps that streamline the process of sharing files with teachers. Teachers benefited immensely from these tools, which allowed them to create, distribute and grade assignments. Some of these apps and platforms are Google Classroom, Canvas, and Blackboard Learn.
Teachers and students want to keep the education industry moving in the right direction. The future of the economy and individual students’ lives are dependent upon students learning new skills and applying them in the workforce. There is no doubt that educators are continually tweaking processes and strategies to keep their instruction on par, if not better than it was pre-pandemic.
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