2020 has been a difficult year for everyone because of COVID-19. Schools were closed throughout the country since mid-March 2020, which has had devastating impact on the education of children.
Remote learning, using e-learning platforms administered by local schools, has emerged as a crucial avenue for children to continue learning. This has enabled some children, especially those with access to personal computers and the internet combined with support at home, to engage in structured learning managed by local school systems and thus build skills in math, reading, language arts, social studies, and science. Unfortunately, many high-risk children who come from low-income households and underserved neighborhoods have not been able take advantage of this option. Since mid-March, many of these children have become disconnected with local schools. As a result, these children have already lost 50% to 75% of the learning skills, especially in reading and math, that they acquired over the previous 12 months of schooling.
NOC operated its summer learning program from June 8 to July 30, 2020, to help high-risk children from underserved neighborhoods to build skills in math, reading, and language arts with the help of teachers from local schools, NOC field staff, and experienced volunteers.
Clearly, if high-risk children are to be successful in virtual learning in Fall 2020, they need access to personal computers and the internet. They must also master the skills needed to engage in e-learning under the direction of teachers from local schools at a site that is safe and conducive to e-learning. To this end, NOC has offered free of charge a two-week summer program for 40 children from August 10 to August 20, 2020, at its two Bluffton learning centers to help high-risk children.
The Summer Virtual Learning Camp has operated with the following objectives.
(a) Provide children the opportunity to engage in e-learning in a safe and enabling environment.
(b) Assist children in understanding the requirements of e-learning (following instructions, review of materials, timely interaction with teachers and scheduled classes, completing assignments in a timely manner)
(b) Help children develop the skills and culture of virtual learning in the absence of a classroom setting and direct interaction with the teacher.
(c) Allow children and teachers to connect effectively to ensure new skills and concepts are covered and learned effectively by the children at their grade levels.
(d) Ensure that children are ready to participate with ease in any remote learning situation in the 2020-2021 academic year.
(e) Ensure that the parents are fully involved in the children’s education and have an understanding of virtual learning.
These children will be well prepared to participate in BCSD’s virtual learning set-up for all children in public schools.