This is East Jackson Highschool located in Jackson County Georgia. This high school has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic and will not reopen until the next school year. According to Athletic Director Shawn Lindsey, the school won’t be holding any classes for the summer.  Photo Credit: Kameron Walters

By: Kamron Walters

The COVID-19 virus on the loose has caused an upsurge of problems for Americans nationwide. One of the most significant impacts it has had on society is the shutting down of public and private school systems, which has forced schools to transform teaching to online classes, whether it be video chatting or using other technologies for online education.

Zoom provides videotelephony and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform and is used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and social relations. Zoom helps teachers create virtual classes to keep communications with their students and helps keep students on track to finish the school year. Photo Credit: Zoom Communications Logo.svg

This is not a situation most students have asked for, but it’s a situation forced at hand by Mother Nature. As the pandemic continues, students are learning how to adjust to going to class by logging into their computer every day. However, there are barriers to online education. Some students cannot afford all the necessities to keep up with online schooling. Some students are not online learners and may not be put in the best position with an online class. They are the ones who learn best from classroom experience and face-to-face interactions.

Although the closing of schools and transition to online classes is critical to slow the spread of the virus, it is not and will not be easy. One of the biggest challenges for middle schoolers and high schoolers is that some of them, especially the low-income students, will not be able to eat a well-balanced meal needed to fuel their brain and body. Relying on this type of learning can also create a digital divide for some students. Unfortunately, many American kids are living without home computers and Internet services to continue their schoolwork.

One child I interviewed says that he cannot finish the rest of his 9th grade school year until he can afford a computer. He knows that all his teachers posted work for them to do online, and the fact that he can’t continue his classes scares him because he doesn’t want to fall behind on his schoolwork. He stated, “I don’t have a job, nor does my mom make enough money to afford a computer for me and my two brothers.” With the social distancing rules in place, he cannot go over a friend’s house or even a library to do any work.

This is the pledge made by the Federal Communications Commission tells internet providers to not disconnect customers who aren’t able to pay their bills for the next 60 days. Helping families who are in need. Photo Credit: Federal Communications Commission

Fortunately, for right now, broadband providers have taken swift action to address the crisis. The Federal Communications has finally issued the Keep Americans Connected Pledge Commission. This pledge tells internet providers not to disconnect customers who are not able to pay their bills for the next 60 days. A list of major companies has already jumped on and signed the petition, such as AT&T, CenturyLink, and Verizon.

Jessica Harper, a student at the University of Georgia, says that the school has been quite understanding of the crisis at hand. “The school has given us a week to prepare and study for classes. They also said that classes would resume online for the rest of the semester and would start the following week after we got home.” They were provided with tutors for all online classes who could be reached via email or by video chat on Skype.

During this crisis, each student is facing their own problems. In this time of need, we must all stick together and help one another get through these tough times. Some students cannot afford online schooling as of right now and are feeling the pressure of falling behind in class. Other students are adjusting better to the predicament to varying degrees. With the new pledge being put in action, this should help tend to the needs of low-income families.

Students, remember if you are having problems with your classes, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors and let them know what’s going on.

 

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