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The Effect of COVID-19 on the Education of Students of Idyllwild Arts Academy
Written by Yoohyun Jeon | Published. 2021.10.27 16:05 | Count : 309

 

 

[Empty campus as the school was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Credit: Yoohyun Jeon]

In January 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the first outbreak of Coronavirus Pneumonia in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-19) is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and it is known to have a high fatality rate.

This virus is highly infectious as it has spread from China to all over the world. Due to this high transmission rate, the majority of governments around the world imposed strict restrictions on travel and mandatory quarantines to prevent the virus from spreading.

Due to COVID-19, all schools, including Idyllwild Arts Academy (IAA), an arts boarding school based in California, had to be closed, significantly disrupting students’ education.

According to the World Bank, about 185 million students within Europe and Central Asia experienced education disruption as their schools were closed due to the pandemic.

This article focuses on IAA as it is representative of some of the U.S. boarding school’s policies during COVID-19.  

For the 2020-2021 academic year, our principal gave students the option of taking online classes or offline classes to protect them from COVID-19. However, students who chose to attend offline classes could not take all of their classes in person.

As it was the first time that the school had implemented online classes, there was much uncertainty and confusion, causing an unsettling mood to prevail. One of the setbacks of online classes was the limited interaction between students and teachers.

Especially during discussions, it was difficult to communicate virtually. This not only limited students from interacting with one another efficiently, but also impacted students’ socially. One of the reasons why parents send their children to school is to develop social skills. However, online classes made students less interactive as they were always hiding behind the screen.

Moreover, problems arose when students had to complete their artwork for projects. Because IAA is an art school, students were given many art-related projects and had to work many hours to finish them.

Students had to do activities such as critiquing, painting, and sculpting; however, sculpting at home was not easy due to the uncontrollable mess that it produces. Also, it was difficult for students to acquire their own art materials as the school could not provide or ship art resources to students all over the world. 

 

[IAA conducted online classes due to school closure. Photo Credit: Yoohyun Jeon]

 

Furthermore, as all classes were held online when the pandemic later worsened, assessments were done online too. This brought numerous inconveniences schoolwide. Students had to upload the majority of their assignments to the IAA website.

This process involved challenges such as technical glitches, causing some students to have difficulty uploading their homework, finding their assignments on the website, and accessing the IAA account. This prevented teachers from grading students’ assignments.

However, the most significant problem was cheating. There was one occasion where all of the students wrote the exact same answers from Internet sources. They had taken the class but shared a link that had the answers to the test.

Also, the midterm exams were online, so teachers were not able to monitor students during the exams. This situation made it difficult to oversee students in general during assessments. 

 

[IAA conducted online classes due to school closure.Photo Credit: Yoohyun Jeon]

 

Overall, with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, it must be questioned whether online classes should be continued or if we should go back to our traditional school system of learning.

For instance, the UK has adopted a “living with COVID” policy, where all people who are vaccinated are permitted to go back to their daily lives while other measures are taken to reduce the COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Hence, it is possible that U.S. private schools, including IAA, will adopt a similar policy. Also, parents and students are waiting to see what policies private schools will introduce to protect students while ensuring their education.

 

 

Yoohyun Jeon

Grade 11

Idyllwild Arts Academy 

Yoohyun Jeon  hsr@dherald.com

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