It seems like just yesterday the administrators at our high school were telling us we would be on a three-week break because of the novel coronavirus. Fast forward 5 months and here we are in August where instead of going back to school—like usual—the majority of the country is preparing for distance learning. While we possess no control over the foreseeable future, you might care to know some of the problems that distance learning may impose for you in the coming year. Regardless of your mindset towards this new development, the quality of your education is at risk in the upcoming school year, and essentially your success could be out of your hands.
The Oakland Unified school district located in Alameda County currently harbors over 12,000 COVID-19 coronavirus cases. With such a large number of cases in the district, it would be expected that students and staff would begin prep for distance learning this fall. However, t as of August 4th, a “debate” with the teacher’s union over the decision of distance learning and whether or not to admit students back on campus still progresses. Even more glaring is that they are supposed to open August 10th. While the lack of planning on the part of OUSD is insufficient, the education those students receive may prove to be far worse. In California alone, over 40 percent of children live in low-income families. That could mean they don’t have enough food to eat, don’t have the technology--including wifi-- to allow them to participate in distance learning or simply cannot function in the house. The lack in quality of education for students in low-income households is more imminent than ever. Distancing learning is no longer a joke; it is a reality that most young people will have to get accustomed to. It is a real threat to the education of disadvantaged populations of students who are less fortunate, or unable to access various resources, which could result in severe consequences for their future.
Furthermore, it is important to be aware that your success is going to become dependent on exterior factors. The fact of the matter is that learning in a virtual world prevents you from being the only one responsible for your own learning; now people will have to depend on their technology and their teachers in order to succeed. Did you ever have a teacher that was an awful communicator outside of class?--meaning you couldn’t email them or whatnot. Let’s be honest the chance of you not understanding something that was taught in class is way more prominent now because you are learning online—there could be wifi disruption, live feed problems, unhearable audio—all of which make your learning experience worse. Unless your teachers have great communication skills outside of the classroom, the chance of you being able to grasp a concept taught online is way less than if the material was taught in person. This specifically shows that your technology and the effort made by your teachers are going to be more of a determinant of your success than yourself, which is a detriment to you and your education.
Although distance learning is becoming the new normal, we must all do our part in making this obstacle less of a problem, and more of a benefit. Whether that means helping someone else out who is less fortunate, or simply tutoring a peer if they are struggling to understand a lesson, do what you can to bring up others. If we all work together the chances of the general populous being impacted could decrease dramatically. With so much happening, our future is very much unknown, so it will take a full effort by all of us to make the effects of this change less detrimental to the future of our society.