Within the past month, millions of school children entered their new school year in the face of a computer screen. Their hopes of meeting friends, having recess, gym, art, and music have dissipated along with the increasing public health concern of the COVID-19 virus transmittance. With rising expectations from schools for students to complete their assignments remotely and a demand of minimum hours of screen time per week, financially unstable families and their children are now becoming increasingly at risk of falling between the cracks.
The utilization of public schools, in a sense, had provided school children with a stronger playing field compared to now. While many students of wealthier descent could afford private schools, tutors, or schools in better neighborhoods, children of low-income families often attend public schools. These schools may be low-funded, poorly maintained, and understaffed, but they did provide in-person instruction. And, the existence of a gap continues to widen. As school districts hand out free computers to students, they cannot provide an equally stimulating environment for the students.
School children of low-income backgrounds may be more at risk for a decrease in understanding of the material due to their environment and resources available. Children with parents, who are working may have to navigate the methodology of taking their online classes at home while learning material alone. School children of higher-income backgrounds may have a more enhancing environment as their family can afford online tutors, dedicate time to teach their child and provide technological resources including wifi, computers, and tablets.
Ultimately, the age of COVID and its impact on schools may lead children of lower-income backgrounds to have a decrease in educational success in the future. This is due to the factorization of which they may not retain the same amount of information that their peers will due to the lack of resources, enhancing the environment and educational assistance from their family. This lack of understanding may require students to put forth more effort and time to learn upon their return to school. Consequently, schools may need to accommodate students, who did not learn at the expected level at home.
A child’s ability to achieve a successful future is not only contingent on the child’s surroundings or the ability for schools, colleges and universities to accept them. Their success can also rely upon the child’s vision of themself as a learner and their ability to cultivate an enhancing learning mindset within themselves, despite all of the chaos that may surround them. With the many obstacles that are presented in a child’s way during their learning experiences, their response may also impact the trajectory of their learning path and help them to overcome this current setback for their future.