It goes without saying that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the younger generation of students. Thanks to online learning, receiving an education for younger kids has been much more difficult for the kids and teachers alike. Computers themselves are quite distracting and online learning is simply not the same as learning in person. What’s worse is that children’s parents are paying thousands of dollars for a solid education as well as for their children to be social and make friends, both factors of which are hindered by online learning. Therefore, America has asked the question, “When will schools return to normal?” Based on this COVID-19 update, we may have found an answer.
A few weeks ago, a German company by the name BioNTech had developed what society has been asking for all year: a vaccine for COVID-19. “It could finally be the beginning of the end of the COVID era”, the company announced. With the vaccine available, the government has been prioritizing who should get it first. Politicians such as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, for example, were the first to receive the vaccine back in early November. Military and EMS Officials were second to receive the vaccine a few weeks ago. Now, teachers are expected to be next
According to education minister Yoav Galant, teachers are expected to receive the vaccine within the next week, or at the start of the new year. However, Galant also announced that it is highly unlikely that schools will be reopened until at least the Fall of 2021. This is because there are millions of teachers around the world to vaccinate and this alone will take a few months to perform. Then, in accordance with COVID regulations, these teachers will need to quarantine themselves for at least a few weeks. The entire process will take at least until July when summer break is in session. Therefore, politicians hope that in person learning will commence again in August or September of 2021.
Even with schools back in session, things will not be easy. Face masks will still be required on the school premises, and a lot of learning will need to made up for. According to a report from the McKinsley Company, students, especially Black and Hispanic students, have fallen at least three months behind in subjects such as Math and English. Ways to make up for lost time include extra tutoring services, and granting college students the option to receive Credit or No Credit rather than a grade for the course. However, there is another predicament about returning to regular learning…
Former education secretary John King Jr. expresses the struggle of being social: “In a virtual or hybrid environment, students have to manage their work, they have to ask questions when they need help, and they have to collaborate independently with peers. Those skills are things that will serve students well in college and careers.” With the pandemic forcing people to lock their doors, however, self confidence and socialization have decreased to a point where building student’s expectations again will be an arduous task of itself. Therefore, as John King Jr. concludes, “Even with this hope of a vaccine, COVID has been an equity disaster for education, and we have a lot of work to do.”