The Future of Distance Learning: How Long Will This Go On?

Life as we knew it practically screeched to a halt last mid-March when the coronavirus started to spread more rapidly across the country. Millions of schools shut down and quickly shifted to distance learning. The start of a normal school day for the nation’s approximately 50 million K-12 students went from taking the school bus to taking out their laptops for distance learning on Zoom. Although we wouldn’t have been able to educate our children last spring without technology, it quickly became clear that many students found distance learning really difficult. Unsurprisingly, even teachers reported difficulties in the online system.

So, when do we stop with distance learning?

Unfortunately, no one really knows. It will probably go on in some form for a while until a vaccine is widely available to the American public, but even the earliest estimates predict it won’t be ready until next year.

That being said, there are some schools open for in-person instruction. They must have certain indicators to open and take precautionary measures like mask-wearing, cleaning surfaces, and social distancing, but many critics argue the risk is too great to reopen schools. The graphs below show California’s coronavirus cases versus the entire country’s cases:

Source: Google. Caption: The covid cases in California are going down, despite them going up country-wide.

As you can see from these two graphs, their shapes look relatively similar. However, while California’s cases continue to decrease after this summer’s spike, the country-wide cases don’t appear to have gone down as much. In fact, the cases across the US are expected to increase as the weather cools down. This will occur just in time with the start of the school year, and with many schools reopening for in-person instruction, it seems like the virus will have a good chance to spread even more quickly between students.

How should you keep your child safe and learning?

With the negative consequences of remote learning, many parents may feel like they’re stuck with two bad choices: send their child to school and risk exposure or have them fall behind in remote learning. 

Here is where learning pods come into play. They are becoming a popular alternative or supplement to remote learning, and although they may look slightly different for everyone, learning pods usually consist of a small group of children with similar learning abilities. The families involved may either run the learning pod themselves or privately hire a teacher or tutor to do it. The goal of a learning pod is to allow for in-person instruction while also complying with social distancing rules.


The pandemic doesn’t look like it’s letting up anytime soon, and parents are struggling to figure out what’s the best way to educate their child. With learning pods on the rise, perhaps it’s best to plan for the long term and do some research about creating or enrolling your child in one. With all the uncertainty of this school year, take matters into your own hands and make sure your child doesn’t fall behind in their studies!