How COVID-19 is Affecting Schools
By: Lucy Huo
October 23, 2020
Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to spread in the United States, and has had dire global consequences. However, there are some unforeseen effects of the pandemic as well, such as changes in the public financing of education.
Previously, 11% of public expenditure was devoted to education in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries before the pandemic. Since then, schools across the country have shut down and faced new challenges in how to provide education. As a result, short-term support measures have been introduced to combat these challenges, such as supplying schools with computers or other digital learning devices. Increased funding has also allowed schools to provide a safer and cleaner environment for their students. Although these items were initially implemented as a short-term solution to the problems caused by COVID-19, it is very possible that these digital resources will continue to be used and improved even after the current crisis has ended.
However, there have undoubtedly been losses for schools and for students as well. The rapid onset of COVID-19 has caused the loss of instructional time delivered in a traditional classroom setting, as schools were forced to close their doors for anywhere from 7 to 19 weeks. Teachers, other administrators, and students had to quickly adapt to new virtual meeting platforms and online lesson formats. Additionally, 18% of teachers have reported a higher need for training in information and communication technology in order to best use these virtual educational resources.
The disease has indiscriminately affected people of all backgrounds, regardless of nationality or socio-economic status. However, the consequences of the disease have disproportionately affected some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
This is evident in the current status of education in our country. As many schools have closed down or moved online, students from more affluent backgrounds are more likely to have access to other educational resources in their community in order to supplement their learning. However, those from more disadvantaged backgrounds may not have access to these same resources. This illustrates how our current education system has some inequities that must be addressed, in order to provide an equal opportunity to education for all students.
NECEF hopes to alleviate some of the pressure on these students by providing a virtual platform to help provide additional educational opportunities. By offering and other educational programs free of charge, we hope to support education for all students, regardless of their background or circumstances.