Most schools have started or are due to start within the next week. Due to the pandemic, many schools are continuing with distance learning but have plans to move to a hybrid model when the conditions allow. This hybrid model will offer students the choice to remain at home and continue their education virtually, or return to campus and carry on with “business as usual”. Tough to imagine, as not much as been “usual” for several months.
For students who are ready to return to campuses, to their friends, their teachers, their lives as they had become used to, remaining isolated at home has been an unwelcome transition. Luckily, many students are tech savvy, so their time on screen might be less strenuous than those of an older generation. However comfortable one is with technology or being at home or developing new routines, this in-between time can be either creative or restrictive.
Not all students learn well virtually. Many prefer face-to-face classes. Until that time returns (research suggests that students learn best in the physical presence of a teacher), students may need help and support in creating and maintaining routines, organization, and more time with family members for human interaction (also proven by research for survival, hence the increase in mental illnesses during this quarantine). Encourage students to connect with friends online where they can share music, books, movies, and games. Students can expand their mediums in gaining information by using library and used bookstore curbside pick-up services. Investigations regarding goals and intentions for education, vacation, career, etc. can be done now, so when the opportunity is there, students can move forward with confidence and determination.
The opposite of those suggests can also occur. Students can struggle in isolation with online classes. They may want to not spend time with family or prepare for success in school. Students could struggle with the ongoing lockdowns and believe that this is the new normal instead of a stage in-between what was and what could be.
With calm understanding, open-minded listening, and positive input from adults in a student’s life, this in-between time can be productive, restful, and an experience to learn from that allows students to return to face-to-face education and socialization eager to engage and put their plans into action. If these adults are not available, then this in-between time will be filled with angst, confusion, and desperation that will encourage nothing positive when the quarantine is over and students can once again be among peers. By using this in-between time to prepare, students will leap forward toward success.