As the COVID-19 crisis disrupts lives, Floridians have started two fast-growing Change.org petitions to keep schools closed and void all 4th quarter grading, passing all students.
Vanessa Brito, a Miami activist, started a petition campaigning for Gov. DeSantis to keep schools closed, instead of reopening in May. She argues that “doing so would have a long-term impact on our school system, educators, and students,” and that “[r]eopening schools in May would put our teachers at risk and exponentially propagate the virus. The State of Florida is expected to peak just before the beginning of May.” Her petition has 34,000 signatures and is moving fast. Multiple teachers and parents have signed and commented:
Jennifer Karvaski of Lake Worth, a teacher, commented: “As much as I miss my students, it is impossible to keep from passing germs in a school. This will only continue to spread this virus as so many kids can carry it without symptoms. Online for the rest of the year so we can all stay safe and get back to normal.”
Johanna Calderon of Hollywood added: “I’m an educator and also have high risk health issues. I can not risk the exposure.”
Another petition with over 180,000 signatures, started by a coalition of Florida students, is arguing for schools to void all 4th quarter grading, and pass all students because of the COVID-19 impact on schooling. The petition states: “The workload along with the stress and anxiety placed on students and teachers does not create a healthy environment for learning to take place. Without the ability to be in direct contact with a teacher, students are not as willing to work and find it harder to grasp the concepts. I have started this petition in hopes of getting our GPA for the 4th quarter voided and receiving our credits in full for this 2nd semester. Students should not be penalized for a global issue that is now fully out of control.”
Sade Timberlake, a Groveland parent, agrees with this cause, commenting: “Im signing this petition as a parent of two school aged children.My children are already experiencing the anxiety & stress of COVID19 .These children should be able to have the ending quarter overlooked as they were under extreme pressure as well as endured increase pressure to hybrid learning.My children are struggling with there studies& wouldn’t have this struggle if they were able to be in there own classroom with an instructor.” Her comment received over 800 likes.
Anika Daniel, a student from Ocala, commented: “I’ve signed this because the amount of extra work that I’ve been assigned has been so much harder to do and it’s so stressful to try to get everything done by the end of the week when there’s 6 classes and 10x the amount of work we get in school and on top of that its much harder for me to focus at home then when I’m at school.”
An alternative to going to school
The pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown that students and school-age children are able to adapt and overcome when faced with difficult circumstances. An example of this is remote learning. While some pupils may have struggled with the initial transition to learning from home, as more members of school staff and students test positive for the virus, online learning is going to help to salvage their education to ensure that they don’t face any further delays in achieving their grades and qualifications.
As one parent mentioned above, the pandemic and the thought of going into the classroom where children might be exposed to infection has caused stress and anxiety for some. With this and the ongoing disruption of pupils and staff testing positive, schools need to think of alternative ways of delivering education.
One way to do this is to move away from traditional classroom education and offer remote learning options. This will allow children to attend the classroom via an online platform from the safety of their own homes and mean that schools can still operate, albeit in a different way when compared to before the pandemic hit.
By moving classes online, teachers, parents, and students can have the peace of mind that they have increased protection against transmitting the virus, the results of which can be devastating. It also means that disruption to learning is kept at a minimum.
Preparing for an online learning future
Online learning has been proven as a highly effective method for the further and higher education sectors which means that the future of learning for many is online. The pandemic has highlighted that online education is a successful way for students to learn. Many report preferring it to traditional education methods such as attending classes, lectures, and seminars on campus in person. Online learning has many benefits, and it is important that parents of younger children recognize this as soon as possible to start instilling these advantages into their kids to best prepare them for the future, which is set to see more people choose to learn online.
This comes as no surprise as there are many benefits to online learning that make it a more appealing option over traditional methods of education.
One of the biggest benefits of online learning is that it is flexible and puts the person who is learning in control of their education, which is not an option for in-person learning. Learning remotely means that you have the study materials available at all times so you can learn at a time and place that best suits you. This means that you can take the time to make sure you fully understand each concept that you need to learn without the pressure to give feedback to a class within the same lesson. Doing this allows the student to learn in a way that best suits them, which might be an alternative to the options provided in a physical classroom. The flexibility of online learning also means that you can re-schedule your day and education rota if something else crops up, which means you can no longer study. Without the pressure of missing a class completely, you can rely on the fact that materials are readily available, and you can pick things up from anywhere, ensuring that you don’t fall behind.
Following on from this, online learning means that students can choose the environment they want to work in. For some, sitting in a classroom all day is a boring prospect that causes them to switch off from their education. With remote learning, students have the freedom to learn wherever they want, whether that be at the library, local coffee shop, or in the comfort of their home office. Other people might choose to vary their learning environment throughout the week, the change of which can help keep them engaged in subjects, making it easier to process and learn information. While some might find working in a library or coffee shop distracting, the beauty of online learning is that people can customize their learning environment to be the most productive for them.
Another important benefit to online learning that parents of school-age children must recognize is that it prepares children for networking. Remote education gives students the opportunity to be a part of an online community of members from all across the world, something they may not have experienced if they had a more traditional education. Being a part of this community means that students can connect and communicate and build relationships with those from different backgrounds, which will be vital when it comes to their future careers where they will come into contact with people from different walks of life.
While much of this doesn’t refer to younger school-age children, the fundamental benefits of online learning are still the same. Parents can lead by example by giving online education a go themselves. Seeing their parent or guardian undertake an online learning program will make the prospect much less daunting for children and help instill the belief that online learning is normal.
There are online courses available to suit everyone, regardless of education level or current career. Whether you want to brush up on your finance skills, learn a new language or go further in or even switch your career, there will be an online course for you. For example, if the pandemic has made you realize that you are not happy in your current job and you want a more rewarding career, you might be considering taking on a second career in nursing. If so, there are online courses that will enable you to do this. You could enroll in an online Accelerated BSN program to become a nurse. The course is full-time and can be completed online over 16 months, meaning you will experience the benefits listed above firsthand.
With the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and education, parents can really help their children settle into online learning by taking on an online course themselves. Hearing positive opinions about online learning from those closest to them is sure to inspire children to learn.