Learning Pods: A Pandemic-Proof, In-Person Education Option
The COVID-19 pandemic has been jarring and unexpected, and schools have adjusted as best they can under the circumstances.
Most have embraced an online or hybrid-learning format. These formats ensure that students can still receive an education without putting themselves at risk.
However, there are problems that are becoming more evident as the school year goes on. Namely, students are feeling more anxiety, depression, and loneliness as they participate in distance learning programs.
Online and hybrid-learning programs don’t offer the socialization benefits that in-person learning does. While it may seem like a small part of education, socialization is crucial for students because it helps students develop autonomy and a sense of identity. There’s also evidence to suggest that socialization boosts test scores in reading and math, and helps with mental health.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has limited safe opportunities for students to socialize, out of fear of COVID-19 transmission.
This is where learning pods come in handy.
Why Learning Pods Are Safe
Learning pods, for those who don’t know, are small groups of students led by an in-person facilitator through lessons and homework during school days. Learning pods offer structure and in-person socialization, both of which are becoming priorities as the pandemic stretches on.
Amazingly, they’re also fairly low-risk.
The New York Times estimates that most learning pods are between four and ten kids, with ten usually accounting for a family with multiple children.
The small groups of students make it easier for families participating in learning pods to monitor and limit exposure to COVID-19. Plus, some families have even gone so far as to quarantine together while forming learning pods so that it’s ensured no one is at risk of infection.
Families participating in learning pods can also make verbal or written agreements to follow common social distancing protocol to help limit transmission and exposure. They can establish “classroom rules” for students in the learning pod, using the suggestions made by the CDC. Facilitators can help with this because they can supervise the students and watch out for any possible COVID-19 symptoms.
With all these factors and precautions in place, learning pods are rightly recognized as a relatively safe in-person schooling option this year.
Why This Matters
Not only do learning pods offer more socialization and support than online or hybrid-learning programs do, but they’re also proven to be safe for students.
So, if students are struggling with their current school format, they should consider switching to learning pods. Students don’t need to struggle through this school year. Instead, there are better options that still keep students safe and allow them to thrive. While many pods are set up by family friends, there are also professional learning pod programs that offer different packages to choose from.