What does prolonged absense from schools and colleges entail for the students

I remember when skipping school and college was like the coolest thing to do and it would instantly bring a smile on my face! Well, not anymore. The beginning of the quarantine had felt like a small vacation - a relaxing change from the routine, but now it feels like a sabbatical that has no end in sight!

A couple of weeks at home wouldn’t have been too bad but when the days turn into months, the four walls start taking their toll on us. Being inside for so long and not having a daily routine is not only affecting our motivation to study but is also affecting our concentration and learning attitude, which could later influence our grades!

I never thought I would admit this but I actually miss going to college! I miss having my friends sit next to me in class and keep distracting me from the lecture instead of being just ‘virtual classmates’! I miss running late for classes and having to sprint across the campus instead of just being in the ‘waiting room’ of the online class! I miss huddling together and copying notes from each other instead of just sharing screenshots now! I just miss being on the college campus! But I don’t think that learning will ever be the same again!

While many schools and colleges are thinking of resuming at least some physical classes soon, the majority of them are already planning to keep classes fully online. For how long - nobody knows! The pandemic has spurred distance and online learning but has also brought with it the burden of lack of social interaction and internet access. The forced transition from in-person learning to online learning is not only straining the school and colleges’ frameworks and technologically capabilities; it’s also deepening the digital divide between students who have access to internet and devices at home and those who rely on school resources.

For most school and college students, being forced to leave the campus at such a short notice; their main concerns revolve around their grades, credits, delayed exams, lost income of on-campus work and internships, and crucially, adapting to the online classes! Speaking from personal experience, online classes can be pretty difficult to adjust to and many times, the essence of learning can be lost!

But no possible alternatives can be seen either, because on-campus classes are a huge risk for the virus transmission. The diverse and great number of students in the campus and within such close proximity, can make any ‘social distancing’ measures difficult to enforce! So physical classes are a big no-no! On the other hand, some AIIMS professors have suggested that maybe reopening schools and colleges could strengthen the ‘herd immunity’ so that almost the majority of the young population could become immune to the infections. But that seems like a far fetched idea and could only be successful if the testing is increased and the implementation is done right.

So till the situations alleviate, the best solution is to try to make the online classes as interesting and interactive as possible and to make do with whatever resources available and just cross our fingers in hope for an improvement in the pandemic condition!

By - Maanya Shah