The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way a lot of our students are learning at their academic institutions. Whether they are in Middle School or University, COVID-19 has impacted the way information is being presented to them. The pandemic has raised a lot of academic hurdles for parents, teachers and students alike. Today, we will examine how these hurdles have impacted students and how they can make the best of a difficult situation over the upcoming summer of 2021.
The largest and most obvious shift the COVID-19 pandemic has presented students comes in the form of how information is presented to them. MathClinic-plus has experienced this first hand – with students across Ontario and our international students shifting from taking courses in person at their learning institutions, to learning online using online platforms. To mitigate the potential health risks that learning in school presents, students are now able to learn from the comfort of their own homes. This presents a lot of benefits for students, parents and academic faculty members – Commutes are no longer an issue, tardiness is harder to come by and students are safer from health risks at home. This has also presented a lot of issues however. One of the most concerning impacts the pandemic has had on students is related to their academic achievements. Advisors of the Ontario government have stated that students are as far as 3 months behind their usual, in person academic progress. This concluded that students are increasingly absent during virtual classes, enrollments have decreased, and the amount of time spent on school work has declined. The effects of the pandemic are estimated to have impacts on the Canadian economy for decades as well, with a study stating that “Each month of skill loss is predicted to cause a one per cent drop in lifetime earnings for affected cohorts and is estimated to decrease the national income by 0.5 percent per year, which would translate to a GDP loss for Canada of 1.6 trillion”. Ontario’s Ministry of Education stated they will be spending a record amount to recover from this learning loss, with $62 million being spent on summer school alone.
Health Tips for Students
With the Ontario provincial government planning to implement great financial efforts in order to raise student achievements, students can do their part as well this summer by doing what they can. One of the often overlooked effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has an impact on student grades is their mental health. The Faculty of Social Science at McMaster University here in Ontario has undergone research on the matter, finding that the pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on the mental health of students. Some of the key ways to minimize the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are as follows:
- Make Sure to Stay in Control of Your Sleep Schedule
With the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating most student’s commutes, there is often more free time in their days. This also allows students to sleep later, however it is important to adhere to a regular sleep schedule. Not only does ensuring you are sleeping regularly affect your ability to learn, it can also affect your overall mood. It is important not to overlook irregular sleep in your journey to academic success.
- Stay Socially Connected to Friends and Family
With some uncertainty of when it will be possible for students to connect in person with their friends and family again, it is important to maintain these relationships and to continue socializing with others using virtual tools such as Zoom or messaging applications. Conversing with friends and family over video calls or playing games with them online is a great way to connect to others while physically separated from them.
- Ensure You are Getting a Reasonable Amount of Physical Activity In
With limited access to resources to stay physically active, it is hard for some students to remain physically active during the pandemic. While not all students have equipment to exercise with at home, there are alternatives students can use to stay active. Yoga, going for walks/runs, or following YouTube workout routines are great ways to stay physically active without access to gym equipment.
- Try to Eat Healthily and Regularly
While we are home, it is often easy to fall into a cycle of eating food that will not benefit our health. A well balanced diet can increase our mood as well as our ability to concentrate – something that is especially helpful when studying from home. Eating foods that increase inflammation can have negative impacts on our overall mood, creating feelings of unease. It is important to ensure we are eating enough and staying hydrated.
Academic Tips for Students
As outlined in our previous blog entry , there are steps we can take to stay on track academically during the pandemic. These tips can be implemented over the summer in order to get us on track for the next academic semester. Here are a few highlights:
- Create a Schedule
In order to avoid falling behind in what you wish to learn over the summer, it is important to create a schedule for yourself in order to stay on track. The more specific you are able to be with your schedule, the better – more granularity in your schedule will give you a detailed plan on what you wish to cover in a given amount of time.
- Dedicate an Area to Studying/Learning
It is easy to be distracted by pets, loved ones or your environment when learning from home – dedicating an area of your living space to studying and studying only will allow students to create a divide between work and play, helping you stay on task when it is time!
- Consider Extra Help
Sometimes learning on your own can be too difficult, especially with the added stress of a pandemic. Alternative learning opportunities such as tutoring can give you an extra resource in your path to academic success. Throughout the pandemic, MathClinic-plus has provided students with access to expert tutors, experienced in their field of study – click here to find a list of our current offerings!