How Students Are Coping During the Pandemic
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In these challenging times, with a pandemic affecting people all over the world, the usual routine that students are used to has been disrupted. They can no longer go to class or meet up with friends – that is, if they keep to separation guidelines to avoid passing on the virus. With the closure of schools and the cancellation of exams in all parts of the world, students are growing more and more concerned. The exams have been canceled due to the spread of the pandemic Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the resulting restrictions and lockdown of populations worldwide. These cancellations are all over Europe, in the US and Canada, in Australia and New Zealand, and South Africa. In China and surrounding Asian countries, things are getting back to normal, with exams now likely to take place as schools open.
With the schools and colleges closed, exams canceled, students worry about grading and assessment by their teachers. So how are students coping with all this?
Exams and Online Tuition
The primary concern of some students and their parents is that the results and grades of GCSEs, A-levels, and all other reviews, are to be based on mock exams and course work – this to be assessed by the teaching staff. Students that are taking exams usually compile a revision timetable so that they are ready for each subject exam at the right time, but this is not happening. Grades are a grave concern for most. There have been protests by both parents and students. Still, it is difficult to see how another approach can be taken – especially with the lockdown in place for the foreseeable future.
Most schools in the UK have instigated online learning. This can consist of self-learning tutorials, YouTube-like presentations or live teacher and student sessions using Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing, Zoom, Skype, and similar applications. With live online teaching, all students can see and hear the teacher, but interactions between students and teachers are slightly limited. In a few cases, students that would have been taking their exams have been asked to submit some work online for marking, although it is not clear whether this will be taken into account when exam grading is assessed. The logistics of running all exams online must have been discussed, but most likely rejected as the students could have their notes in front of them during an online session or could use the Internet to find answers.
Many people in Canada are self-isolating or having to stay at home for other health reasons. This group of people are unable to go out for food and medicine due. As an example of this are the students at the University of Manitoba who are helping out at a screening site and Health Science Centre as answering phones at Health Links. In Winnipeg, students have also been helping in other ways by babysitting and food shopping for health workers that cannot do it themselves due to shift work.
College students in Vietnam are using their time to track passengers on flights carrying virus-infected passengers, based on information provided by airlines. The work started when Dinh Thu Trang, a sophomore student studying at the Hanoi University of Public Health, received a notice from the Ministry of Health in the morning on 14th March while in her rented room. The notice was asking for volunteers to join a Coronavirus Task Force, so she filled in an online form and applied without knowing what the tasks were. In all, 24 students from the University reported to the ministry offices the nest day, and after two hours of training, set to work to track the virus-infected passengers on flights.
Some students would like to make a positive contribution to society, especially in times like this when people are isolated in their homes and have nobody to get them shopping or medicines. The UK Prime Minister recently asked for help from the UK population. Amongst the half, a million volunteers are many students giving up their time to help the elderly and house-bound community.
There are many student nurses and doctors in the UK going through their three to seven years training have been volunteered by the UK Minister of health, to step into the front line. This means that they will help all patients with the virus and carry out many duties expected of qualified staff.
Students at Oxford University have set up a volunteer group to help people that are self-isolating to get them shopping and carry out other errands. The volunteer group was set up by Frederik Filz van Reiterdank after his grandmother had food delivery problems in the Netherlands. This group is thought to be one of the first in a growing number of student-led volunteering groups.
In a twist to students volunteering, nearly 30 million students in the United States get daily free or subsided lunches when they attend their school. With the spread of Covid-19, it has forced many schools to close, leaving many pupils with no daily meal. Several volunteer groups, including Mobile Hope in Virginia, have stepped and are ensuring that these students get fed.
The Covid-19 virus is spreading across the world and not only causing people to self-isolate but has caused many schools to close and exams to be canceled. While some online teaching and self-help courses are being used, students are doing there best to cope with the situation. Millions of people are under lockdown with no easy access to food and medicines, and groups of students in many places are providing food and medicine deliveries to help out. In other parts of the world, students are volunteering to provide other services as well, such as in Vietnam, with work for the Ministry of Health.