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The Impact of Covid-19 on Education: Remote Learning

via CEA

Schools across the United States have been complaining for a shift to remote learning again, but is it possible? Over the last two years, millions of students have had to learn remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote learning changed the way many students learned, some hating it. Schools are afraid of students being academically dishonest while participating in a remote learning environment but are also fearful of the spread of COVID-19 by schools being in-person. 

With the return of in-person schooling in September of 2021, COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire. The new variants, Omicron and Deltacron have rapidly increased the spread of COVID-19. Many schools are noticing an influx in thousands of new COVID-19 cases per month. Students who test positive for COVID-19 have to quarantine for two weeks minimum, depriving them of the education they need. Reports from the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) show that from September 13th, 2021 (the first day of public schools in New York City) to January 16, 2022, over 110,000 students and over 30,000 staff have tested positive for COVID-19. Keep in mind this is only NYC. In NYC schools, nearly 5,000 classes have been closed, more than 20,000 classes are partially quarantined, and 17 schools have closed due to COVID-19. On January 15th, only 234,500 out of 938,000 students attended NYCDOE schools, resulting in a 25% attendance. 

Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York City, disagrees with the idea of school closures even though there are nearly 40,000 new COVID-19 cases in New York City. Adams said, "I want children in school because it's not only the academics. You hear me say it all the time, it is the holistic approach (to) the full development of the personhood of the children. All the experts state they should be in school," To keep schools open, Adams has increased the opportunity for COVID-19 testing by distributing testing kits to students daily in NYC schools. Recently, Mayor Adams has offered a remote option for students who cannot attend school to meet with their teachers, get their attendance, and catch up on missing work. 

According to Psychology Today, remote learning has had a negative effect on students’ academic performance and their emotional, mental, social, and physical state. Remote learning has also affected parents! Parents were having difficulty sleeping, they couldn’t find childcare centers, and they had emotional distress. Data gathered by Chalkbeat indicates that 26 states have seen a decrease in high school graduation rates in 2021 after two decades. Maine, Nevada, and West Virginia reported a one percent decrease in graduation rates. Illinois, Oregon, and North Dakota reported a two percent decrease in graduation rates. Educators are concerned for high school students who received their diplomas because they did not get the proper education they deserved due to the on and off of in-person learning. 

A poll was conducted in July of 2020 by the Pew Research Center that asked parents if they thought their child could fall behind academically if schools shut down. Fifty-four percent of the parents voted that they feared their children may fall behind. The same poll was conducted again in February of 2021 and the results grew to about 60 percent. Parents retook the poll in January of 2022 and about 67 percent of them believed their child would fall behind.

Similar to how schools went remote during the lockdown, workplaces also went remote. Research done by Forbes shows the pros and cons of working remotely. Some pros are: working at home can reduce operational costs for a business, employers can hire from all around the world, and remote working allows employees to take breaks which may help an individual’s mental health. Some cons are that working online makes bonding and communicating with coworkers harder and it may serve as an inconvenience for employees who do not have a good workspace at home. This is similar for schools as many students don’t have access to the internet, they don’t have a proper space to do their work, and it is harder for them to learn and communicate. 

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