The United States of America was one of the first countries to be assailed by the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic. Positive cases spread like wildfire, and the number of deaths began to rise. According to the Center For Disease Control & Prevention, more than 34 248 054 cases and 607,684 deaths have been reported in the US since January 2020.
The administration imposed a strict country-wide lockdown. Masks, proper sanitization, social distancing and quarantine measures became the norm to prevent further spread and mitigate the damage caused. All public gatherings were prohibited as spikes in cases became more prominent. In addition, all offices, organizations, facilities and academic institutions were shut down as a precautionary measure as remote interactions became the safest possible way of communicating & working.
The American Educational System was particularly affected by the pandemic. Widespread shutdowns led to total disruptions, and remote learning became the only feasible way of continuing sessions. As a result, remote learning became the norm, MOOCs & online essay help services became a blessing and professional assignment & essay writers came to the rescue of students affected by the devastating disruption.
In this article, we take a detailed look into how Covid-19 affected US educational institutions and the ramifications on American education.
Disruptions That Have Taken A Serious Toll
The pandemic has changed education drastically, and experts state that things will never be the same.
- Darleen Opfer of the RAND Corporation, an American non-profit organization aimed at improving administrative decision-making, states that the scale of the repercussions and the damaging impact of the pandemic is unlike anything seen in recent history. She says imply the extensive learning losses that students of the 2020 academic year have suffered, despite comprehensive online learning measures.
Shutting down schools, colleges and universities were inevitable. And it was up to the institutions themselves, alongside the state & federation educational authorities, to think up ways of overcoming all possible disruptions. As a result, remote learning measures were adopted across all academic levels to varying amounts of success.
- Students struggled with such paradigm shifts in pedagogy and learning. As a result, many find it difficult to grasp concepts, maintain focus and connect with what’s being taught.
- Achievement gaps are expected to increase along with learning losses. Though exams and assignments are being conducted online, the average performance has fallen. Performance drops have been much more widespread amongst students from lower socio-economic sections & minorities.
- An article at McKinsey.com, a reputed research firm, states that learning losses & high dropout rates will be on the rise in the ensuing academic years as more & more families face income struggles. The article further states that the economic & developmental impact of the pandemic & lockdown will have far-reaching consequences on a generation of American students, especially those from lower-income & underprivileged communities.
Struggling To Cope With Inequality
Wealth disparity, digital divide and educational inequality were some of the harsher realities that lay bare during the pandemic.
- The pandemic caused widespread job losses across the USA. In addition, many families lost their only source of income in a country where the minimum living cost is higher than most other countries across the world.
- Students from lower-income families were the most seriously affected. Many were unable to afford the necessary resources to partake in online learning. Students from lower-income families struggled in every aspect, from acquiring a stable network connection to buying essential electronic devices. The situation was worse for minorities such as Afro-Americans, Hispanic, Native Americans, etc.
Lower engagement rates, chronic absenteeism, higher dropout rates and poor academic performance have been reported, as per the data from the McKinsey research article.
- Educational institutions have been struggling to tackle these widespread problems. Policies have been implemented at every level, measures have been implemented, and teachers adopt different teaching & learning tactics to improve student engagement & discourage dropouts.
Implementing Drastic Changes
Significant changes have been executed by institutions and both state & federal systems.
- Online and remote learning techniques remain the most effective tools to continue academic sessions without major disruptions. As a result, schools and colleges are adopting systems that enable them to continue teaching as effectively as possible.
Teachers have been given comprehensive & in-depth training on the best practices of online education. In addition, pupils and parents are being given detailed instructions about the practical usage of online learning resources.
- The United States Department of Education made $36 billion available to support students & institutions through this ongoing situation as part of the American Rescue Plan. This massive financial aid will help schools & colleges adopt remote learning measures better, resume normal operations faster and provide pupils better access to vital academic resources.
Financial aid also serves to help many institutions to offer student loans and address exceptional cases favorably, allowing students the freedom & opportunity to enroll, continue, graduate & pursue their careers as they please.
- US institutions integrate online learning into their infrastructure and develop robust systems to tackle significant disruptions of any kind. The most reputed universities in the country, MIT, Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Caltech, etc., have inaugurated MOOCs and are working with the government & private organizations to make quality education available for all.
- Schools and colleges are also addressing social & psychological problems faced by students. In addition, support programs have been implemented to help specially challenged & LGBTQ communities of students cope with social anxiety and associated issues.
- Academic curriculums are changing, teaching methods & outlooks are changing, and the teacher-student dynamics are changing.
Lots and lots of academic resources are now available online, from digital libraries to learning management systems. Teachers have begun to look beyond conventional textbooks and are incorporating information from different sources. They encourage students to look beyond and acquire knowledge from varied types of credible sources, thereby boosting their creativity and knowledge.
All in all, it can be said that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the US educational system in the most impactful way possible. Long-term ramifications and changes have now been ushered in as they remain the only way forward.
And, that’s all the space we have for today. Hope this article was an interesting read for all readers alike.