By Jennifer Liyanage
As the globe prepares to face the rapid explosion of the coronavirus pandemic, actions such as closing down airports, any kind of dine-in restaurant, and multiple other areas where gatherings of people may occur, have been shut down. In comparison, many schools have shut down as well due to safety measures which has led school districts to rely on online education to continue helping students learn.
According to MPH Online, in 1918 the Influenza Pandemic swept over multiple continents, affecting over a third of the population and ending in about 20-50 million deaths. Since then the world had not seen something as alarming until the coronavirus began to develop. As a result many schools around the globe were not prepared to face a pandemic like this and were limited in their knowledge of how to handle the safety of students.
Many schools have decided to move to an online curriculum to help transition students. This includes face-to-face chats with platforms such as Google Hangout and Zoom, online posts through Google Classroom to keep students updated with work, and chatting through email to address further questions or concerns. Those schools without these abilities have been sending home packets or relying on partnerships with programs like PBS.
Transitioning students to a completely online curriculum can be both beneficial and harmful to students who are quarantined at home.
The first major benefit of online school is that students can continue to learn and do tasks that may benefit them in the future. Another benefit could be a flexible schedule; at a time when families are rushing to be prepared for this global pandemic, students get to do their work when they have time rather than having to “attend” school at a specific time. With a flexible schedule and deadlines to meet, students are still able to learn new concepts and be able to meet deadlines just like they would in a traditional classroom setting, leaving them prepared for when school rolls around again whether that is in weeks or months.
Although students are given all the materials needed online along with the ability to communicate with teachers and peers, some people treat quarantine as a break and see it as an opportunity to procrastinate more than they normally would, however. Students are also often given the responsibility to self-teach, which could prevent them from learning the material properly.
“I think one disadvantage of online school is that students are not able to clarify 100 percent of the questions that they have and information that the teachers give them. It’s harder to comprehend something or someone when it’s not actually face-to-face. It’s easier to see someone and ask for help in an environment you are used to. It’s like your head is stuck in a screen, especially since you are not able to physically write and read things on paper,” junior Sarah Cortez said.
As the pandemic spreads many school districts are unsure if they are going to be closed for the rest of the year. Using the online curriculum may be something that students and teachers all around the world will have to get used to for the months to come. In order to preserve the health of the staff and students, school districts have taken the precaution of switching to online school for the safety of the community.