In these trying times, many important daily routines are interrupted. Where can we go to eat? What entertainment areas are open?
These are just two of many questions asked in today’s society, but one seems to rise above all of them: the education of today’s youth.
Our whole future depends on the younger generation’s education, whether it be elementary, intermediate, or high school. This brings up an important question: under extraordinary circumstances (like the COVID-19 pandemic), what matters more to families in the long term? Health or education?
Well, the simple answer would be health.
Health is (and should be) the primary concern for everyone. However, digging deeper into this subject, we find that this answer may not be as easy as it seems. Will the lack of proper or traditional education during this critical time period actually do more harm in our near future? Perhaps, through an alternative form of learning, students’ needs would be better fulfilled.
Some of the advantages that hybrid learning offers is the ability to effectively manage one’s time and fit extracurricular activities alongside their education. According to Susie Zappia of the Seattle Pi, students also have the advantages of sometimes having access to recordings of class instruction if teachers record lessons or classes. This would allow them to replay lessons at any speed or interval they are in need of.
Hybrid education saves transportation needs, while also weaving in-person instruction into the daily schedule of students. In-person instruction is absolutely necessary for a few factors, including overall engagement levels and credibility of test scores. It is common sense that overall engagement levels decrease in an online setting. Having assessments be a priority of why students return will lead to more credible scores on tests and, therefore, grades, allowing students’ applications to actually determine who is putting in their share of effort.
However, there will most likely be some disadvantages that lie in hybrid instruction.
First of all, hybrid instruction can be seen as lacking, partly due to the fact that it isn’t fully in-person education, so learning wouldn’t be exactly as optimal as it normally was before the pandemic.
Additionally, there is a variable risk of contracting COVID-19 on school campuses. Although it is unknown how the rates would decline if safety measures are strictly enforced, it is never safe to downplay the risks of a deadly and highly contagious virus.
Some advantages of sticking with distance learning include a personalized daily routine. Classes can be taken whenever there is free time as long as the checkpoints are met at the end of each quarter. This may be an intriguing option for many students, but the effects of distance learning on this younger generation is still a glaring problem.
How will the American education system ever return from this hiatus? How and when is it safe to go back to campuses?
As of right now, there are already large amounts of schools resuming across the nation. What would happen if a massive second wave hits our country, possibly killing a larger amount of people? We may never know, but our best bet would be to stick with the hybrid system until we know more.