Unprecedented times and circumstances due to the novel Covid-19 pandemic led to all schools being non-operational and physically shut for about 2 years. While schools have done their best to make sure learning is not disrupted and students get access to top-quality education in the form of online resources and excellent mentorship, the harsh reality is that even once schools are functional again they will pose numerous challenges as getting back to physical formal education will not be easy.
Challenge of maintaining safety precautions:
Even once schools are operational the challenge of maintaining social distance at all times, taking care of personal hygiene by hand washing, wearing masks, talking and sitting in classrooms at a 5 feet distance would not be convenient or practical for many students post Covid-19. Despite being in school, children would feel alienated as would be missing out on the personal touch and engagement which makes learning fun and interactive.
Lost practice of writing:
Students have been used to appearing for exams online and have often restored to technological devices to appear for tests and complete their assignments due to Covid-19. Getting back to the groove of writing and taking notes could take longer than expected. Losing personal touch with the textbooks, and being out of practice can initially be a struggle for children. They might lag behind on work and time-management skills would have to be developed in order to finish hand-written exams on time.
Loss of interest and motivation:
It is likely that students will have become lethargic and complacent while sitting at home and have lost their motivation and determination. It would be very difficult for them to get back on track and find their groove of completing assignments on time. Motivation and determination is not something which students can get back overnight. It is something that they would have to constantly work on after getting back to school.
Mental health deteriorating:
After being placed into the center of chaos and pressure of school once again students may not be able to cope with the stress. They might have lost practice on how to juggle multiple assignments at school, maintain attendance, and take part in extracurricular activities and clubs on campus. Therefore, as a result of the extra burden and pressure, their mental health can deteriorate.
Lack of social interaction and fear of alienation:
As a result of social distancing and isolation for a long time during the Covid-19 pandemic, students may have lost their social skills and fear interacting with other students again out of social anxiety and awkwardness. Therefore, rekindling friendships and taking time to interact with their peers and teachers again would be difficult.
How can we prevent the challenges to schools posed by Covid-19 after it ends?
- Inculcating the habit of hand-writing
- Exercising daily, following a balanced and healthy regime
- Talking to a school counsellor and being it touch with teachers and friends
- Taking the vaccine and maintaining social distancing at home
- Staying in touch with social circles in schools/friends from part of school clubs
- Productively using time by signing up for activities and courses online
- Staying positive and motivated by joining organizations and clubs
- Developing new skills and hobbies
Also published on Medium.