Virtual Education and Return to School Challenges During Covid-19
The past few months of virtual education and the Covid-19 pandemic have been challenging in and of themselves. Now that students and teachers are returning to the classroom, there is a new host of challenges to work through. While the risk of spreading Covid-19 and preventative strategies are typically the first thing that pops in people's minds with the return to class challenges, the long absence of students and moving away from virtual education also provide unique issues.
Let's go over some of the problems students, parents, and educators are facing returning to school.
Being out of school for so long, even with continuing virtual education, many schools are providing refresher courses. It may seem counterintuitive as students have had remote learning and virtual education but, returning to school means a change of gears. Catching-up on lessons in-person would help students transition back to a classroom environment.
The challenge isn't the refresher courses on topics better for in-person learning but, fitting them into a regular school schedule without disrupting the continuation of what was covered via virtual education. No one wants to take the same class twice so, educators have to balance what was covered during remote learning by helping students get back on track in school.
A New Schedule
To help prevent the spread of Covid-19, many schools are using staggered starts and moving teachers rather than students. Before the pandemic, students could socialize and take a breath between classes in the halls. To reinforce social distancing that hallway time is on hold. It's kind of a continuation of virtual education, limiting in-person socializing. Now different teachers will move to different classrooms to teach their subjects. This is a challenge mostly because it's a new form of the school day, just like the staggered starts. The different start times may affect parents who are returning to work, for example.
Masks and Plastic
The students are returning with a medically necessary dress code and while school once provided a space to socialize, the classroom separation will give teachers a chatterless lesson. Well, perhaps it will, kids always find a way to chit chat during class. The plastic around students' desks may not seem like a big deal but, the jarring scene is likely to highlight the situation everyone is in. That alone can provide challenges to emotional and mental health. Parents and educators need to help calm students and help them adjust to the situation in a healthy way.
Back to School Mode?
Being homebound for so long can give students a more pronounced case of summer vacation syndrome. Parents and teachers know the feeling well. Isn't it always tough to get back into the swing of things after a vacation? Well, switching from virtual education to in-person education poses the same challenge. That's another reason for the refresher courses, to give students time to adjust. The main concern here is to make sure kids don't drop the ball with their lessons. Best to treat it like they just started school again after the summer break.
Virtual Education Enhancements
Even though the class is back in, remote learning and virtual education can still help your kids get back on track or catch-up. One example is that many of the in-person extracurricular activities are unlikely to continue until the pandemic subsides. Virtual education is still an option for the arts, social skills, workshops, and student assemblies. You can also continue using remote learning and virtual education to more quickly catch-up on lessons. Just because class is back in action doesn't mean it can't be further enhanced with virtual education. Think of it as a tutor, which could be necessary since the new school environment isn't the most conducive to learning.
Academic Entertainment and Virtual Education
Academic Entertainment is a great way to continue virtual education alongside the classroom. The programs range from helping with bullying to learning music technology and how science applies to the "cooler" professions. Character building and social skills will be taking a hit when returning to class because of the social distancing so, it's important to continue that learning. Virtual education is more than the lessons students learn at their desks, it's learning enhancement. The same way school assemblies, recess, and workshops functioned before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Don't let these challenges overwhelm you, whether an educator or parent. All of us together, using all the tools at our disposal will help our kids stay on track and become the educated adults we are working for them to be.
Stay safe and keep learning!