Given my passion for anything related to education, I am also interested in what can impede the process of learning. Taking a break from my essay bot service review, I decided to look at how the US education system responds to the recent COVID pandemic.
Before we begin, it should be mentioned that children have a meager infection rate, and the mortality is even lower. However, given enough time and enough children, it is inevitable that the virus will do irreparable damage to many lives.
No parent is willing to risk their children’s safety, even if infection consequences seem to be less severe for young people.
A logistical nightmare – the problems we face
The school system’s whole point is that we need to educate as many people as possible simultaneously.
The COVID virus spreads indoors via proximity. Fine saliva and mucus particles can hang in the air for hours after the actual sneeze or cough took place.
A classroom is the virus’s best-case scenario for spreading, and the situation has no end in sight.
To make matters worse, schools have become something that they were not supposed to be: daycare centers. The modern lifestyle and economy rely on the school system to babysit the employee’s children as he/she works.
We sometimes forget that parenting isn’t a side job, and the pandemic has brought that into focus.
Given all of these challenges, how is the system tackling the COVID crisis?
They work, sort of.
Checking the temperature of ingress and outgress is a strategy applied in almost any building, not just schools. Yet, they take the temperature in the most non-invasive way possible, scanning either the child’s wrist or forehead.
Those areas are often poor indicators of your body temperature because they are exposed to the elements.
Even with a fever, a child’s forehead can be cooled by an incoming wind so he can pass the check.
Speaking from personal experience, I also failed a temperature check because of outdoors conditions. It was midsummer, and after a long walk in the Sun, I entered a local store and was scanned.
My skin was emanating a lot of heat, and I was turned away. I knew that I didn’t have COVID because I got tested days later, and the result was negative. This is why nurses prefer to take your temperature via your mouth, armpit, and other areas.
So, should temperature testing be abandoned?
Yet, it should not be relied upon completely. Taking a student’s wrist and forehead temperature can catch a slight fever that even the afflicted person doesn’t notice. This will spark at least some form of mild concern and investigation.
Still, it shouldn’t lure the teacher into a false sense of security. Even if the temperature scan works, we should consider that many people have no symptoms at all. There are infected people with no fever.
For those who are not familiar with the term: hybrid learning is a teaching method that combines both personal instruction and digital online classes. More often than not, these classes are held over ZOOM.
Almost all schools in the United States have adopted at least some form of hybrid learning. Still, it can be hard to be specific when discussing a continent-sized nation with a federal government system.
It seems that the best results are often produced by selective participation. Regardless of the local authority’s decision, it can be challenging to make anything mandatory. A great way to mitigate both the virus’s effects and the legal ramifications is to make in-person attendance optional for both staff and students. Only in states and districts where the virus has caused the most harm is in-person attendance banned outright.
In terms of its effectiveness, hybrid learning is nothing more than a band-aid. It is a temporary solution that generates mixed results at best, yet it is the only solution we have for the moment.
The human brain is not wired to learn via Zoom calls, making online learning less than optimal.
Also, some students do not have the means to participate in Zoom calls. Even in the US, the wealthiest nation to ever exist, millions of children are without an internet connection or a device to navigate it.
There are homeless students who do not even have access to basic utilities. No solution has been proposed to help them.
Mandatory masks, distancing, and shields
Sometimes, the most straightforward approaches work best. Both masks and shields attempt to put a physical barrier between the virus carrier and the uninfected person.
As previously mentioned, sneezing and coughing spray microscopic particles of infected saliva and mucus. These droplets are so light that they can float and linger in the air for hours, long past the person has left.
This provides the reason for the implementation of a mandatory mask policy in schools and other institutions. Screens protect students from a more direct sneeze or spray, catching whatever particles that the mask has missed.
The distancing concept speaks for itself: if you are further away, you will decrease the likelihood of infected droplets hitting you.
Of course, these methods also have their drawbacks. Wearing masks measurably demoralizes and frustrates most adults, let alone children. A feeling of unease and constant vigilance is tiresome, and it has been going on for nearly a year and counting.
Young children can be alienated by the distancing, as they are highly emotional and perceptive. For teenagers, it’s even worse. Their age is when you learn socialization. Socialization skills are essential in everything, from doing business to personal happiness.
However, it is hard to argue against the effectiveness of mandating masks and distancing in classrooms.
In essence, the US school system’s strategy can be summed up in the following sentence: “ We do what we can until the vaccine gets here.”
Masks, social distancing, hybrid learning, temperature checks, and plexiglass barriers are only temporary solutions designed to minimize the number of infected people.
They are not and should not be treated as the new normal. These implementations are sub-optimal in their results, and they are causing a lot of stress and frustration amongst students and their parents.