COVID-19, LOCKDOWN AND STUDENTS

Covid-19, the infectious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus, has gripped the world. The disease causes mild to moderate respiratory problems, but the infected people are at a higher risk of developing a severe illness if they have underlying medical problems.

Most of the countries in the world have imposed lockdowns amid fears of the rapidly spreading virus. Nepal is no exception as the country has also been under lockdown since March 24, 2020, affecting normal life.

Despite observing strict lockdown, the spread of coronavirus has continued in the country.

As of Tuesday, Nepal had 4,086 confirmed cases, including 15 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

Except for those involved in essential services like health care, banking, groceries, everyone else has been confined to their homes.

The lockdown has also shut thousands of schools across the country. It has disturbed the routines—studying, eating, and playing—of millions of students.

These sudden alterations, brought about by the pandemic, have caused a lot of inconveniences to students, especially those at the primary level.

During this period, parents have a crucial role to play—from preparing a daily routine for children to allocating time for their studies, extracurricular activities and refreshments.

Many schools have come up with the idea of running online classes via video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet.

Such classes, however, are not all plain sailing.

A student in Kathmandu, who has been attending virtual classes, complains that it is tough to grasp as the background noises would often drown the teacher’s voice. “Besides, it’s difficult to pay proper attention while learning through the computer screen,” says the student.

There is another challenge facing online classes in Nepal. While all parents want to provide proper education to their children, not everyone has the means to do so during these testing times. Many of them cannot afford the devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and internet access required for online learning.

When the schools reopen after things return to normal, those students who could not keep pace with their colleagues in the online learning face a different type of risk. In fact, e-learning has put many families under social and economic stress.

More than half of the students have been unable to attend the online classes. According to some rough estimates, this learning inequality could hit more than 40 students in a class of around 100.

Virtual classrooms are entirely different from regular ones. A computer screen, divided into multiple smaller screens, often makes it much difficult for a student to concentrate his attention on the teacher. As well as technical complexities, many students often feel overwhelmed in such environments, raising their anxiety levels.

As there is not a sure-shot solution yet to contain the outbreak, nobody knows how long this lockdown will last. Several board exams have been postponed. It has put a lot of pressure on the students preparing for exams, raising fears of them developing a problem of procrastination.

Procrastination is the act of putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention. And it can leave a person into a vicious cycle. The longer you wait to carry out a task, the tougher it gets to complete it. It makes the person less motivated to complete the task, causing more delays.

To break this unending chain, one should set up a to-do list. Promising rewards for completing the work and punishment for delaying will help motivate you. You can ask your family or friend to check on you from time to time to keep you determined and help minimize your distractions.

Besides, having spent a considerable amount of time with the family during the lockdown—away from academic learning—would only put the students under more pressure to focus on study. That, in turn, may cause them difficulty in concentrating on their studies.

So, the students should divide time between their family and studies. And the parents should monitor their children during the lockdown.

The children should be made aware of the deadly virus and ways to prevent contagion. But parents should also be mindful not to make it the only topic of discussion. Along with the parent’s emotional support, children need to take the necessary steps to avoid an anxious situation once they are back in school. Therefore, during these times both the children and parents have crucial roles in hand to maintain physical as well as mental wellbeing.

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