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10.07.2020 Feature Article

Extended school closures

Author: Fatoumata BahAuthor: Fatoumata Bah
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Many nations are announcing that the school lockdowns will continue into the upcoming school year due to COVID-19. These measures are allegedly being taken in order to contain the spread of the virus. Assuming the intentions are good, in the near future, the extended closures will be a disaster. The prolonged closures will lower the quality of education, increase mental health issues in students, and put undeserved stress on parents. In the minds of certain students, informing them that they are studying from home is equivalent to telling them that there is no school. The amount of effort put in is lacking and leads students to do the bare minimum. The technologically savvy generation that consists of millennials and Generation Z are easily distracted. Being on the computer for the majority of the time on a school day is a recipe for lackluster work. The attention span of people is naturally limited, it will come as no surprise when students are switching back and forth from Zoom

to Facebook. Attending online classes is for the self-disciplined and multi-taskers of the world, there is no teacher present physically that will hold one accountable. Teachers are bound to be more lenient in grading during this lockdown and this will diminish the rigour of the school work. Secondly, the continued isolation will have negative effects on the mental health of students everywhere. Human beings are communal by nature and to take this away from a growing teen or young adult is traumatic. The home life of some kids are so chaotic that they are only able to have peace when away at school. The lack of stability can weigh heavily on everyone. When the social interaction of students consists of their phones and tablets their worldview becomes minimized. Real and honest social interaction can never be substituted by technological advances. Last but not least, the parents of these students are now forced to play multiple roles under the already many hats they wear. If the kids are not going to school but the parents have work, they will have to find a sitter which is not cheap. The added financial and mental burden are much to bear for these struggling parents. The difference between traditional homeschooling and COVID homeschooling is the option of choice. Society is pushing parents to play the difficult role of teacher. The parent-teachers will be using their limited knowledge to teach a wide array of subjects they know little about. To conclude, the education of students should not be compromised due to speculation and doomsday predictions. One must not be taught a fear mentality but one of determination and overcoming. The prolonged school closures are sending the message that leaders have no control on matters and that everything is up in the air.

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