Covid Mitigation via Continuity

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/covid-19-effect-on-students-a-catastrophe-may-hurt-decades-of-progress-un/story-EWOIDwq2m9LrWjOiVd6QWK.html

Will add to this since the quote is a partial one, and does not explain the response to Covid.

During the Crisis, as a matter of urgency, do your best to retain contact with students. Offer them connect, offer them care, offer them some fun content that enables them to retain Continuity in education. The two fears in education are that students will lag in learning, and that they will drop out. We cannot prevent the first while the pandemic is on, and must plan for it. But we can do our very best to minimise the lag, and keep students connected to schools, teachers and their school friends.

If we ensure continuity, we have the opportunity to address the learning lag. Continuity is the first priority. When a child drops off, phone and ask, send a message, send a video (appropriate!), send a fun worksheet. As a teacher, you know your student best. Do your best to keep them on board.

The second thing to do during the pandemic is to try to do our best to bring the have-nots (one day we will not ever have to use that term, if we get this right) to digital learning. For that they need access and they need devices. There are many organisations arranging for device donation, and for amplification of learning via shared devices. Find a way. But also find a way to get internet to the poor. Google used to have a tie up with the Railways to enable stations. Revive that for public spaces. For areas with shops and public establishments, establish a network using the spare capacity, or donated capacity from their connections. This mesh network has operated in many cities where big brand chain stores tied up to provide a single log in that could be used as you passed by their shops. Is this the best we can do? No. Can we do this now? Yes. What does it achieve? Connectivity till formal provision and access is created for all.

Finally, we can see that internet is now a basic need. Creating digital highways to villages and inaccessible areas and free access to these pathways is as essential as the provision of roads and electricity. This needs to be made a priority – for covid is not going away soon. And even when it does, this remains essential.

Covid has come as a catalyst for online learning. It is time to get it right. In content, in connect. And with continuity.