5 Ways Students Could Impact the Global Coronavirus PandemicBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Students of all ages have taken center stage now that "back to school" has arrived in many parts of the country. Throughout the pandemic, it seems that certain demographics have been taking the brunt of complaints-and now it's students' turn.
There have been recent headlines touting students at traditional in-person campus environments breaking the rules and getting together in large groups. Of course, any large gathering has a high chance of spreading COVID-19. Students are not, and have not been, the only groups to be doing this.
You will find risk-taking in virtually every facet of American life. However, it's undeniable that the strong desire for a "normal" campus experience has led some students to taking unnecessary risks.
This is only one way students are impacting the global coronavirus pandemic. Yes, these in-person campus environments are creating hot spots of COVID; however, they're no more dangerous than the recent Sturgis motorcycle rally or the hubs of in-person church gatherings.
This is no excuse, but rather a singular example of how students are affecting the spread of coronavirus. Here are a few more:
Changing the Face of Education for Good
We're definitely still in the early stages of figuring out how distance learning works. Just like in-person learning, there are some students (and parents!) who are better suited for it than others.
There are issues of socio-economic factors to take into account. However, some students and families are finding that at-home learning actually works better for them. It also prepares students for an increasingly virtual and global career future. Even better, it is also a fantastic means of reducing bullying.
Making More Time for What Matters
If you have a student, have you noticed they seem to have more time with distance learning? If their learning capabilities and grades have stayed the same or improved, that's a great thing. Removing the time necessary to commute, physically change classes, and all of the time waste that happens in traditional settings gives students more precious time. This means students can prioritize rest, hobbies, and even family time.
Tech Skills are Improving
There's no getting around the fact that students need a certain level of tech skills in order to undertake at-home learning. This leads to disparities for families and/or school districts that can't afford to provide this.
However, for those who do get the tech and Wi-Fi they need, students are enjoying stronger tech skills than ever. They're negotiating virtual meetings with the same finesse as their business leader parent, learning real life skills they can translate to their careers.
Stress Management Techniques are Being Tested
Maybe your student counted on regular recess breaks to manage their stress or anxiety. If that isn't built into an at-home model, that could be dangerous. We will all figure out the quickest and easiest ways to self-soothe, including students, and that could lead to drug use and coronavirus-required distance learning.
If parents have to work during the day, even if they're in the same house as their children, they simply can't watch them as closely as they should. Keep an eye out on older children who might be using vices as a means of handling their stress.
There's no learning environment that is ideal for every student, and there never will be. For decades, there has been a very specific format followed by most of the U.S. and that included in-person learning in increasingly crowded classrooms.
Now is a time to assess how distance learning works and doesn't. We can see the pros, cons, and how we can make modifications to improve it. Students as well as teachers are the driving force behind this "experiment," and they're the best resources for when the pandemic is over to gauge whether or not virtual learning should continue.