The deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rapidly spread throughout the U.S. in early 2020. This caused significant disruptions in learning and has affected every educational institution in significant ways. Fast forward to early 2021, where educators are now beginning to receive the vaccine, and the effects of the onset of the pandemic persist.
One of the most visible impacts has been in how education is being delivered. Although distance learning was not a new concept, it was far from being the primary method students learned. That is until the pandemic closed campuses and forced educators and students to brush up on their tech skills. In two years, those learning in a distance education setting went from about 35 percent to close to 100 percent in 2020.
As high school seniors stressed over entrance exams and graduating in the Spring of 2020, colleges and universities worried about what admissions would look like in the Fall. That was rightfully so, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse.
Overall enrollment dropped 2.5 percent in Fall 2020. With that, freshmen enrollment alone declined a staggering 13.1 percent. Add in decline in enrollment of international students due to shutdowns and travel restrictions, and one can see why there is cause for concern.
With looming budget cuts, everything comes down to costs for both students and institutions to keep the lights on accessing educational materials; how students learn impacts what goes into the budget or comes out, for that matter.
Although many states have diced funding for higher education, some governors are pushing for the opposite. In about half of the 50 states, governors are proposing budget increases for higher ed.
It is painfully difficult to find the bright side of most things when it comes to this pandemic. That also holds in the educational realm.
However, it is arguably one of the most meaningful times for students in the medical field to learn. Many will rest assured knowing that future medical professionals will undoubtedly be prepared for the next pandemic of this magnitude.
Many should also rest assured knowing that higher education has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.