At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic schools across the globe were forced into campus wide shut downs, virtual learning, and a noticeable decrease in enrollment. With the no clear end to the pandemic in sight, many institutions are reopening campuses, refocusing on in person learning, and working to improve enrollment rates.
After students have gotten used to online learning, some wonder how will they’ll react transitioning back to in person learning? To get a more accurate assessment of student morale regarding the pandemic, we were able to speak with Buck’s head of the Counseling Department, Jim Gilligan.
Gilligan says, “For some just being back in a classroom, taking courses on campus again, they can get a lot more help now that it’s available to them. They’re in classrooms again so they can raise their hands, go to the teacher after class for help, and it’s helps them feel a lot more comfortable again.”
Gilligan discussed how online learning impacted students who prefer in person learning. “When the pandemic was at its highest, students were finding it really difficult to adapt to the flow of online course taking. So, they are really glad to be back in the class room, taking the courses that they need for their careers,” he expressed.
The impact of Covid has negatively impacted enrollment. Due to the stress Covid brought about the population, some students see it better to stay at home with online classes as a result.
In discussing how some students may still be suffering from the devastation of the pandemic, Gilligan went on to say, “Many students are afraid of Covid still, they might have had it themselves, or still have it along with severe symptoms. They also still have family members who are sick or have been impacted from the pandemic.”
While some students found the online learning cumbersome, “Some students even found it easy to adapt to online classes when the pandemic first arrived… they didn’t skip a beat! They find it more convenient to just work on classes at home even now,” said Gilligan.
As times have gotten more stressful since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been new options given to students on way to tackle stress in these trying times. Such as the 988 life-crisis hotline which was founded by congress during 2020 to help with anyone nationally who were experiencing mental health crisis at home when they have no one to talk to.
“There were already students with mental health issues, and Covid just made them feel much more alone and helpless. They just really needed more support. From what we’ve seen, as a result of the pandemic, these numbers like the 988 hotline, were used much more often,” concluded Gilligan.
When asked if any of the negativity of online learning had changed students’ morale, Gilligan declared, “I expect students to do much better, now that everything has gone in-person again.”