The Impact of Coronavirus on the Education System
Updated: Feb 24
Coronavirus has been hard on all of us. The education system, particularly, has taken some hard hits during the pandemic and life under quarantine. The less than ideal circumstances available to schools have forced us to work with the obstacles that come with virtual learning. Because of the uncertainty and severity of the coronavirus, schools have had to adapt with little time and few resources. Many schools have been forced to close entirely. This new way of educating is affecting students in negative ways.
Students have been away from school for months and months. Especially in early education, long periods away from school result in a deterioration of learning. We see this on a small scale every year when students leave for summer break. They return to school in the fall with less information in their heads than when they left in the spring. This is understandable, and is quickly remedied in the fall by material review and continued learning.
COVID-19 has prevented this return to immersive education and learning remediation. The longer students are away from the classroom the more the knowledge in their heads deteriorate, all while less new information is added.
The "COVID Slide"
This lapse in the quality and quantity of learning has been titled the “COVID slide” or the ”COVID learning loss.” There have always been gaps in education, but this particular one has proven more significant. Projections say that students will return to school with only 63-68% of the learning gains in reading and only 37-50% of the learning gains in math. When compared to regular summer break retention loss, these numbers appear astronomically worse.
Differentiation In The Classroom
One of the most important side effects of the COVID Slide is the increased achievement gaps projected to occur inside returning classrooms. In her study about the COVID learning loss and the effects of the quarantine on education, Karen Rambo-Hernandez says,
“[I]t’s possible the array of abilities in a classroom in a normal year will widen by two or more grades in the fall. Children who have been historically underserved are at high risk of falling further behind, while high-achieving kids, allowed to work at their own pace with lots of resources, may rocket ahead.”
Teachers have always had a responsibility to determine the differentiation needed within their classrooms in order to attend to all the levels of achievement in their students, but with gaps like these the task becomes increasingly difficult. To add to the problem, many schools are still unable to fully return to the classroom fully and are using virtual or hybrid methods to teach. Effectively attending to the spectrum of abilities in a physical classroom is difficult enough, never mind trying to do it through video while keeping the attention of a whole class and ensuring each child is challenged at their appropriate level.
The big question is, how do we get the correct data about each student and then supply them with the necessary remediation tools that will allow them to succeed?
Online education programs are quickly becoming the answer to this question. Why? Because of data collection. Online educational services, such as Sunburst Digital, allow teachers to efficiently gather data about their students through testing and tasks. This information assists them in assigning specific remediation tools or advanced material, depending on the level of the child. Sunburst provides a dense curriculum for teachers to assign their students based on the data collected. We offer curriculum in math, science, social studies, keyboarding, dual language learning, and cater to grades Pre K-12. This material takes a huge load off the teachers and provides a more personalized experience for students.
We are already working with 97% of school districts in the US to fight back against the COVID learning loss. Check out www.sunburst.com to learn more about what Sunburst can do for your students.