Across the world, one of the most affected populations of the COVID-19 outbreak is the academe. Students, professors, and school personnel, and staff found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Daycare centers, preschools, high schools, colleges, and universities are the most consistent part of a person’s life. You go to school from the time you turn three or five. You last there until you’re in your mid-20s if you are going to take a post-graduate degree.
But COVID-19 changed that. While not all schools had to cancel their face-to-face classes and go online, many students are wary of what being in these physical classes meant for their health. Thankfully, there are health protocols in place in many of these institutions and facilities. A hybrid method of face-to-face classes and online learning is also used by many colleges and universities to encourage students to pursue their education despite the threat of the public health crisis.
Assess the Situation in Your Country
In Singapore, there was no real reason to cancel face-to-face classes, but universities and colleges still transitioned to online learning to help satisfy the health concerns of the students and their parents. But what if the courses you like to take is a technical one that needs a hands-on approach to learning? Many SSG-supported courses that Singaporeans take to upgrade their skill level have to be learned in actual classrooms and work environments.
Should this stop students from pursuing such skills? Hardly. The important thing is to assess the situation in your respective countries. How bad is the transmission of the virus? What health measures are in place in your learning or work area? Are these protocols enough to assure you that there will be no massive outbreak on the campus?
A Three-pronged Approach
Most health experts recommend a kind of three-pronged approach to resuming classes in universities and colleges. The first prong is containment, which can be achieved by creating zones in the campuses. Staff, personnel, professors, and students must stay in their designated zones. This is like a bubble within a bubble.
The second prong is decongestion, wherein universities should reduce the number of staff and students on their campuses. The perfect way to do this is to implement a hybrid approach to learning. It’s a mix of in-class and virtual learning. This will significantly reduce the number of students who have to be on campus for classes.
Finally, the third prong is the use of technology. Campuses should create an app that will do contact tracing and sensing. This app should remind staff and students to stay in their designated zones. They will need to provide this app when they have to enter the library and other areas of the campus. This will also keep non-university staff, students, and residents away.
Apply for Internships
One way to augment your learning amid this pandemic is to apply for internships in your respective industries. Chances are that you are not going to get paid for these internships, but you are going to learn more about how to navigate the industry that you chose to be a part of. Many companies are now looking for people to train since these are challenging times for any organization. They need fresh ideas, too, and they hope to get them from people like you.
Traditional education is not the only source of learning. The reason most universities and colleges require students to finish an internship program is that they want students to experience these industries for themselves. You cannot learn everything about an industry in school. You have to get out there and navigate this challenging world.
More Than About Learning
For freshmen college students, going to the university is more than just about learning. It’s about the experience of meeting new people, learning new things, and experiencing a new culture. Universities and colleges have their own cultures and traditions. Some are into sports. Others are into academics. The student bodies are also very different from each other. That’s what students are missing now that many of them cannot fully go back to school.
This is the reason a lot of foreign students are back in countries like Singapore, which attracts students from all over the world because of its topnotch educational system. The country opened its doors for foreign students provided that they follow the strict quarantine procedure. Many students jumped at the chance of starting their university life in actual campuses than in virtual Zoom conference rooms.
Things are looking up for a lot of countries. This means that soon, more face-to-face classes will commence. While things will never go back to how it was pre-pandemic, universities and colleges should work hard in ensuring that their campuses are free from any future outbreak. The past year is a lesson enough that students want to learn if and when it is safe for them.