Beginning in March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to move their classes online. Colleges and universities, many already having remote learning capabilities, were the first to close the classroom. Kindergarten through grade 12 followed despite some reservations of whether to shut their doors. At first, it was a few weeks for these schools, but as the school year neared May, many decided to continue the year remotely.
Moving the classroom to the dinner table brought with it a number of challenges. The biggest challenge was ensuring students had the technology to take part in the online classroom. A Pew study estimates 15% of children do not have high-speed internet access. Many schools spent the first several weeks ensuring attendance and understanding the needs of families.
There's also the social component. Proms moved to Zoom hangouts. For graduating high school seniors, graduation is the culmination of a lifetime of work. Heather Nelson, an English teacher at River Ridge High School in Woodstock, Georgia noted she's seen the message "I never thought that I would miss school" on numerous occasions.
COVID-19 also impacted graduating college students, who just months ago aimed to enter one of the best job markets in decades. Now many students take part in virtual graduations and face uncertainty of jobs and try to pivot from lost interviews and internships. Despite growing similarities to the 2008 financial crisis, the hope is for a quicker rebound for everyone.