Aug 21, 2021
The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was on January 19, 2020, in an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, Washington, with a 4-day history of cough and subjective fever (Holshue et al., 2020). By March, some states had begun to issue state of emergencies. For example, on March 4, 2020, the Governor of California proclaimed a State of Emergency due to the threat of COVID-19. Shortly after, a Stay at Home order was issued in California on March 19, 2020. Fast forward to this publication, and we have now lived with COVID-19 for approximately 18 months or a year and a half.
Education has changed dramatically, and the delivery of education is now categorically different. However, schools refuse to learn from this Pandemic and want to go back to how things were. Newsflash, we cannot return to how things were, and this virus is not behind us. COVID-19 is now endemic to our society. We will not be able to go anywhere without it being an issue; it is pervasive and will be part of the fabric of society for years to come. However, people do not want to understand or are unwilling to come to terms with the reality of the situation. Too often, we hear from the media, institutions, government, and schools saying things like, "Now that the pandemic is over, we can return to normalcy." This type of thinking is detrimental to growth and prevents schools from serving their student populations and communities. Also, if we are honest, the model of education before January 2019 was not working and hardly met the needs of students, so why are we romanticizing this time. The old-fashioned ways of delivering content did not meet students' needs and were oceans away from how students today absorb content.
A year and a half later, we continue to have a golden opportunity to develop and categorically change the delivery of instruction to students. Yet, people are resistant to changing and want to go back to how things were. This thinking by the leaders in schools and institutions will doom our students and are self-serving at best. The leadership at schools are not seeing the areas to develop and grow but rather go back to what they feel was comfortable for them personally. Again, saying things like; "learning happens in the classroom," "we will not be an online school," "students need to be in school to learn best." These quotes showcase the ignorance of our educational leadership. Classrooms do not need to be four walls with desks/tables and exclusively in person; having such a narrow interpretation of what a classroom should be closed you off to the opportunities of what it could be. This type of thinking shuts you off to new educational spaces and prevents new ideas from permeating the academic narrative. Exclusively damming online schooling or the use of video software programs negates the positive effects it provides. For example, virtual classrooms allowed teachers to record lessons for students to recap, the inclusivity of having all the materials showcased on one screen, or the benefits it provided to some students who did not feel comfortable in a traditional classroom. Often, educators forget that this generation was born when media and the internet were part of everyday life and synonymous with being part of society. They never experienced dial-up, not having access to the internet, and if we continue to place the old paradigm onto them, we will continue to provide a disservice.
Education today needs to include an online, digital, remote learning option as robust as an in-person option. Instruction in the classroom will need a digital modality of delivering content, and we must understand that, or we will be left behind.First Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States