Will more children return to classrooms when the pandemic subsides?

A boy taking classes online at home. Photo courtesy eschoolnews.com

Entering our “new normal” of virtual learning, schools and universities have been experiencing a decrease in enrollment for in-person learning. In Leon County, with a district of more than 30,000 students, slightly more than of the students have started the fall semester doing the Virtual Academy rather that return to the classroom during an ongoing pandemic.

The leading question for when we resume “In-person” learning concerns young children: Will they have more mental health and developmental issues while older students will no longer be interested in the continuation of higher education? The lack of participation by students has many parents and educators concerned with growth on a developmental level.

“Honestly, this is the worst time for my child to experience a worldwide pandemic,” Althea Johnson, an occupational therapist in Jacksonville who graduated from Florida State, said. “It sucks because I can’t do anything about it nor am I a tutor to truly teach my child what he needs. This summer we endured a fair share of riots, witnessed daily deaths from COVID-19. As a parent I can’t even focus so why punish my child.”

“The enrollment rates will definitely affect school once classes resume in person. There are some students who are not currently in school, some who are successfully attending virtual classes, and others who are struggling deeply with virtual schooling. This will all affect school because students, now more than ever, will be on completely different learning levels. Unlike at a university, public schooling is much harder to adjust to, considering the ages and circumstances of each individual student,” Johnson added.

Taneka Goodrich, a remote HR specialist based in Tallahassee, is a mother of three. She believes home schooling may be the new normal.

“I think that times have changed a lot and even before the pandemic a lot of people were going toward home-schooling for their children, a lot of school systems are offering hybrid classes and online classes in relation to going to class on campus so I do believe that things will change and a lot more people will go to school from home just like I think a lot more people will work from home,” Goodrich said.

Sarah Rains  a 25-year day care owner in Tallahassee and health care administrator. She believes students will be negatively impacted by virtual learning at an early age.

“I believe the decrease in student enrollment will be felt negatively in years to come.  There are emotional, social and intellectual development that are being lost and will take time to regain, I have been in health care and child-care services for just about 30 years, I have never witnessed a pandemic this large that will deeply affect the younger generation,” she said.