It’s safe to say that when the coronavirus pandemic arrived in early 2020, no one was prepared for the monstrous changes it brought with it. No warning call signaled an impending doom; there was only uncontrollable chaos.
COVID-19 brought drastic and dramatic changes to the world as people knew it. The pandemic halted the professionals from going to their offices, food establishments from serving meals to the starving masses, and students from learning in traditional school settings.
With this total disruption across different sectors, the only viable solution to cope and have some semblance of normalcy is to go digital. The choice was either to adapt to the circumstances or be forced to close down due to the lack of available resources.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Schools
This phenomenon gave rise to the increase in remote learning. By using digital platforms to conduct operations, both students and teachers were allowed to continue their usual routines without many differences, save for this specific aspect.
The coronavirus pandemic compelled students to receive their education from online modules that they can access through devices in their own homes. Educators learned to adapt and find feasible alternatives to traditional face-to-face instruction.
Those schools that failed to transition to digital means were driven to closure, displacing the students who were enrolled in them and costing employment for the professionals that depended on them for a living. It was an ill-fated shift, but one that proved to be necessary.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Students
Before the pandemic, many marginalized students have already been struggling to cope with the demands of school because they didn’t have access to a high-speed internet connection or a computer. This is especially true for students in low-income households and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Now that all public and private schools were forced to shift to remote learning methods, you can only imagine how these marginalized students are trying to cope. Those who had no means to pay for a stable internet connection or buy a computer they could use to study are left to fend for themselves.
Students who can adapt to remote learning requirements experience digital fatigue because they must attend virtual classes day-in and day-out. Elementary, high school, and college students spend hours on end in front of the computer every day for their classes.
Virtual schools also made no room to accommodate students who had different learning styles. Students who learned better through application and group activities have no choice but to endure online modules, even when they struggle to sit through endless lectures.
Continuous exposure to technology can have adverse effects on people’s physical and mental health, not just on children or teenagers but also on adults. However, until the pandemic passes and everyone has been vaccinated, remote learning seems like the only option people have.
The Impact of the Pandemic on the Student Experience
The formative years that students spend in school can have both positive and negative impacts on their lives, which can be carried over well into adulthood. It can be said that the experiences students go through in primary, secondary, and tertiary education shape their character as well as perspective.
Having the privilege to attend classes with people in the same age range made it easier to practice one’s social skills without going out of their way. Extra-curricular activities such as clubs and sports and school events like dances and proms were also great avenues for socialization among peers.
There is truly no replacement for the experience of going to a traditional high school compared to virtual schooling. Students who were forced into remote learning will no longer get back the eventful years of their youth that they lost to the pandemic.
Using digital means may have solved the problem of face-to-face instruction and the closure of schools, but it failed to address the other aspects of having a holistic education. Remote learning has no room for students to learn life skills and values that can be learned from different activities, nor does it promote a sense of belonging to a community.
Still, having the opportunity to continue education despite the pandemic is better than not having an alternative. Administrators and educators alike should be praised for their adept response to the crisis, while students should be encouraged to pursue learning for their own sake.
It truly is a challenging time for everyone. People can only hope that the pandemic passes soon so that they can go back to normal, whatever normal means nowadays. Until then, the changes of the coronavirus on traditional learning modes are here to stay.