Will the pandemic shape how the world will be led by the next generation?
Devon Drew, writer
There is no question that COVID-19 has affected the current state of the world and has severely impacted what the future holds. Knowledge is power and education molds how the world works. Cedar Crest College’s education department is breaking barriers and is working with the challenges and changes that come with a pandemic. With these challenges come many opportunities as well.
With education moving online, everything is in limbo whether you’re an educator or a student.
“Right now many if not most teachers are dealing with having to teach virtually or going into a school,” Abigail Martin, a sophomore Early Education major, explains. “Teaching through a computer is very hard and making lessons virtually acceptable and understood is very hard.”
Income is a driving factor in the way education will be achieved in the current climate.
Schuylkill County has sent its students back to the classroom using a hybrid structure, while the county next door, Northampton County’s COVID-19 infection rate is now the fourth highest in the state. Blue Mountain School District and Tamaqua Area School District of Schuylkill County are going back to in-person classes full time, giving the parents the choice to “opt-out” and go fully online. All other school districts in Schuylkill County will be doing hybrid courses giving the parents the option to “opt-out” and go fully online.
“Some districts have worked to help students have a hotspot or hub where they can access the internet. I have heard that many families do not have the bandwidth to keep up with online learning,” Dr. Jill Purdy Ed.D, the chair of Cedar Crest’s education department explains. “It appears that teachers are working to provide some learning for the students through providing backpacks or crates of materials for the students and then working through phone calls.”
“School districts are very sensitive to the populations they serve, and as such there are systems in place to address the needs of our most vulnerable,” Melissa Kamyab, Ed.D., an assistant professor in Cedar Crest’s education department, explains. “Often this is a community effort between internet providers, community centers, libraries, and schools.”
Cedar Crest College has a flexible hybrid course option this semester which gives students the choice to take classes online or in person. Different districts across the country are acclimating to the newer form of education. “I think the future look of our classrooms will change. Oddly, there probably will never be another snow day,” Dr. Purdy explains. “I think a hybrid format may be part of the future - where teachers present content in a variety of ways. An example would be more flipped classrooms. I don't think the k-12 world will fully embrace total online. Not all kids can learn that way.”
“While others are faced with the option of going back while this deadly virus is still around,” Martin says. “Not only are they at risk now, the students, other faculty, the families from both parties, and anyone they come into contact with as well.”
Schuylkill County has sent its students back to the classroom using a hybrid structure, while the county next door, Northampton County’s COVID-19 infection rate is now the fourth highest in the state. Blue Mountain School District and Tamaqua Area School District of Schuylkill County are going back to in person classes full time, giving the parents the choice to “opt-out” and go fully online. All other school districts in Schuylkill county will be doing hybrid courses giving the parents the option to “opt-out” and go full online.
Schuylkill County school districts are trying to be proactive in daily screenings, cleaning, social distancing, etc. per CDC guidelines and through discussions with the Lehigh Valley Health Network to find the best options for the health and safety of the students, faculty, and staff. Most educators have not been trained in online learning, but fortunately, education is ever-changing and acclimates to the changes they face. This can be a determining factor in the crossover to online from in-person learning.
Dr. Jill Purdy Ed.D, Chair, and Abigail Martin, Sophomore Dr. Melissa Kamyab, Ed.D.,
Professor of Cedar Crest Education Major, Spanish Minor Assistant Professor of Cedar
College’s Education Department Cedar Crest College Crest College’s Education Dept