Schools Closing: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed the face of how we go about our day-to-day lives, including the way our children learn. As governments around the globe continue to grapple with the pandemic, one of the measures that many countries are taking is to close schools and universities. This article will explore the implications of schools closing and the challenges and opportunities introduced in this new educational paradigm.

What’s the Reality of School Closures?

The true reality of school closures is that it affects the lives of millions of students, both young and old. According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) 1.2 billion children in over 160 countries have been impacted by school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disruption of educational routines and reduced social opportunities can have a major effect on student mental health and wellbeing. This disruption cost can have long-term economic implications as well, as economists warn that this pandemic could lead to a deviation of up to 35% in education outcomes worldwide.

What’s Being Done to Combat School Closures?

As school closures continue to ripple through communities across the world, many educational institutions are looking toward creative solutions. Governments and universities are working on ways to bridge the gap between the in-person classroom and online learning. Applications such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and Skype are being implemented in place of the traditional school classroom.

Many universities have also had to reduce their courses and fees due to budget constraints arising from the pandemic. This has impacted research, teaching practices, and student accommodations. Financial aid programs are making an effort to assist those students who are struggling economically due to the pandemic.

The Impact of School Closures on Education

One of the main areas of concern when it comes to educational disruptions is the impact on learning outcomes. Parents and teachers are concerned that children are losing out on valuable educational opportunities due to the lack of physical classroom time and peer-to-peer interaction.

The move to digital learning has garnered mixed results as, while it means that knowledge can now be accessed anywhere, at any time, it also limits the amount of personalized instruction and resources that are available to students. Furthermore, research has highlighted that disadvantaged students may be disproportionately affected by school closures, as they tend to lack the necessary technology and support required to perform competitively online.

The Impact of School Closures on Social Life

Closing schools has also had a significant effect on the social life of young people. Without the daily interactions of the school playground and socializing with classmates, students of all ages are facing isolation and withdrawal from their usual social activities.

Schools play a major role in instilling social skills in children,’ such as communication, developing relationships, problem-solving, and negotiation–hence their absence can lead to social gaps that can be difficult to fill.

The Challenges of Homeschooling

Homeschooling has become increasingly popular as parents seek ways to keep their children engaged in their studies while schools remain closed. Despite the many positives of homeschooling, it presents a number of challenges. Parents need to be aware of their own limitations and be realistic about the time available to them, given their various responsibilities and commitments.

Furthermore, many parents aren’t equipped with the skills and knowledge required to provide quality education and support for their children. Homeschooling also presents scheduling and resource problems, as parents often lack the necessary materials, resources, and expert supervision that schools offer.

New Opportunities from School Closures

The uncertainty of school closures has brought with it a number of new opportunities as well. Many educational institutions are now developing different platforms that can allow students to connect and share information globally. This can be seen through the rise of virtual classrooms and e-learning. Moreover, schools are increasing the use of technology and developing new ways of teaching that can support the development and growth of their students.

Additionally, a new appreciation for teachers has arisen, as these teachers are managing the overwhelming pressures of teaching their classes while also keeping their students safe.

What is Clear is That School Closures Pose Major Challenges

It’s clear that school closures pose a major challenge, as we are faced with questions of how to adapt our educational systems and how to keep our students’ minds engaged during such tumultuous times. Nevertheless, governments, schools, and parents must all work together to ensure our children’s safety and education.

School closures can offer an opportunity to develop new solutions that can support the learning outcomes of young people and give them an exciting, new insight into the world of education.

Useful Resources for Dealing with School Closures

• Websites such as The National Association of Special Education Teachers and the National Center on Universal Design for Learning provide advice and resources on how to create effective teaching plans during school closures.

• Teachers can also create virtual classrooms or forums to allow students to discuss and share ideas.

• The US Department of Education provides resources to assist parents and students during this time.

• Many universities are also providing courses to keep students’ minds engaged in the study of a variety of subjects.

• Support groups and forums can also be used to provide guidance and advice on homeschooling and teaching techniques.

• Don’t forget to reach out to other parents and teachers for help.

School closures have presented an unprecedented challenge for both students and teachers. The rapid digitalization of classrooms has caused significant disruption to traditional educational practices, and students and teachers must now adapt to this new reality.

Nevertheless, with this disruption also comes opportunities. Learning can still take place, and there are resources and initiatives in place to ensure our children’s mental and physical wellbeing are looked after. We need to continue to foster dialogue between schools, universities, and governments to ensure the best possible outcomes for the coming generations. This is an uncertain period for all of us, but with good parenting, effort, and support, we can get through this together.