Potential of Virtual Schooling

Potential+of+Virtual+Schooling

Michael Baffour-Awuah

COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus has completely flipped the way we see the world as it is. Period. Not only has the disease affected tens of millions of people but unfortunately has killed millions of people. Along with Covid comes with the variants. Whether it be Delta, Alpha, or Omicron, Covid variants have affected the world heavily with the whole society attempting to recover. With Education being one of the most important systems that exist in the world, Schools have been seriously affected by COVD-19. With health departments and school districts deciding whether to keep the students in school and the rise of the variant Omicron, Schools are having a tough decision, In-School or Virtual Schooling?

In the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, Covid-19 affected both. With the pandemic itself originating and taking grasp around the early 2020 mark, many schools, as a result, had to close. Most schools had to close at the beginning of the pandemic. According to EducationWeek “Eventually, 48 states, four U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity ordered or recommended school building closures for the rest of their academic year, affecting at least 50.8 million public school students.” In the 2020-2021 school year (the school year after), schools were also affected. For many counties starting the school year off virtual, and later switching to a hybrid model or just staying virtual. During these times, that aspect of being in a school environment in terms of being social and having face to face contact with other students was erased. Even in the local sense, AACPS (Anne Arundel County Public Schools) has a policy. According to the county’s website “When the number of COVID-positive cases of students and staff in any one school reaches 5%, then the Anne Arundel County Department of Health (DOH) reviews the school’s case data to better understand the virus transmission trends. Upon evaluation of the data, the DOH decides if a classroom, grade, cohort, team or whole school needs to be moved from in-person to virtual learning.”. With different schools actually reaching this percentile and closing that even furthers the chance of virtual learning for the whole county/state or even country.

However now in the 2021-2022 school year things are different. Kinda. Positively, many schools are back to the in-person model of teaching. However with COVID, still at a high rate, precautions have been set in place and restrictions in order to keep everyone safe. Here comes Omicron, a new variant of Covid-19 first discovered in late November of 2021 with the first case in the United States being discovered in early December. Omicron has even further affected schooling and the spread of the virus, with many schools having cases and the potential of virtual schooling setting in the minds of students. With even some counties going completely virtual for some time. Many counties have also had this thought in mind and even have planning for it.

So what do you think? Will we switch to Virtual learning? Answer in the survey below.