In March of 2020, parents and teachers had to scramble to develop solutions to keep an estimated 56.6 million enrolled students in kindergarten through 12 grades (Educationdata.org) busy and learning. Worldwide, COVID-19 has led to the mass restructuring of significant institutions in the developed world. Educational institutions in the U.S. has struggled to adapt to the pandemic with a lack of leadership in government and adequate funding to ensure proactive safety measures for both student and staff in the classroom.
Teachers across the U.S. have an average of 15 students per classroom. Instructors play a vital role in our everyday lives shaping the way our children think, talk, and behave with the world around us. The public education system is also an essential component of our economy. Schools keep children safe and stimulated while parents go to work.
“We have to take Johnny to work with us every day. That’s been hard for us mentally and financially,” explained Yirandi. She and her husband work for the same boutique firm. They have two children, Katy is two-years-old and attends daycare during the day. Johnny is five-years-old and has started kindergarten this Fall. “At his age, his attention span is not conducive to sitting in front of a computer all day as we do.” She added, “He loves school, but I know he is not getting half the education I did doing it in person when I was a child. He needs to be around other kids to learn the social skills necessary for kids his age. Every half-hour or so, he leaves the computer desk we set up for him to come to look for us.” Yirandi and her husband, Juan, take work home almost every day. When the kids are asleep, they stay up and finish that day’s work to keep up with their workloads.
Similarly, teachers have been having difficulty with remote learning. Nikolas, a Para-Instructor, works with at-risk high school students. “In special education, getting them to log in and open Zoom is very different from being at the school,” says Nickolas. He explained, “The ability to understand the complexities of the technologies triggers in some students behaviors where they just shut down and don’t want to deal with anything.” Virtually instruction with students makes it difficult for Nickolas to help students de-escalate their behavior or mood. Nickolas has had to adjust his tactics for communicating with students virtually. Now he waits for the students to come back to talk to him when they are ready or reach out to them, depending on the student.
Parents and teachers alike are driven to provide the best possible tools for developing young minds. Despite recommendations from leading physicians and the CDC for schools to remain closed, most public schools and universities have opened and had massive Covid-19 outbreaks resulting in closures anyway. The Coronavirus has proven a challenge to parents and teachers alike in ensuring developing young and immature minds are attaining the skills necessary to go on to higher education.