Undoubtedly, we are submerged in unprecedented times that will linger in the forefront of humanities mind for ages to come. Despite this it is evident that throughout these past months of burden – and for many – separation from loved ones, the very best virtues of humankind have once again reappeared, at a time that we require them most. It resides on the rainbows displayed upon every window to awake hope and encouragement in the hearts of all those that have sacrificed hours of time and effort to help those in need. It resides in the daily national applause dedicated to all the front-line medical staff, applause that can be heard for miles around. It resides in the many albums of song dedicated to COVID-19 patients and the collaboration of artists to provide entertainment in seemingly monotonous days.
However, an important question remains: Once humanity has recovered from this pandemic, will our perspectives have altered for the better or will we continue subsisting in the damaging, ignorant ways that have plagued humanity for so long? Online learning and various forms of communication in the business place have evidently become an essential part of our current life.
Opinions concerning the success of the methods of teaching vary greatly. Many consider it a liberating and freeing experience which allows students to explore their personal interests and develop their independence while others believe guidance and face-to-face interactions with classmates as well as teachers is required to create a suitable learning environment. Denmark, The Netherlands, China and Japan have announced that schools in their region are being reopened with suitable COVID-19 precautions to ensure that the interaction between pupils and teachers is reestablished while maintaining social distancing, and in so doing will attempt to introduce normality in these extraordinary times. The New York Times recently commented on the reopening of schools in Denmark: “To stop the spread of infection, parents weren’t allowed inside. Teachers couldn’t gather in the staff room. And the children each had their own desks, marooned two yards away from their nearest neighbor.” Additionally, by the time the school shut again, all students had washed their hands hourly. To further reduce the risk of outbreak the school has divided its students into two segments, each attending school on 2 different days of the week, allowing for a communal day in which all students participate in online learning. This ensures teachers are able to decide which subjects and topics are most suited for either school or home and therefore teach accordingly in an undoubtedly more efficient manner. The reopening of schools at this point remains controversial. Nevertheless, many predict that an approach similar to that of Denmark will likely be integrated and implemented in many countries in the months to come, considering that various strains of COVID-19 are expected to reemerge during future flu seasons, and that these strains will resemble other pathogenic infections such as the common cold.
Recently, the quantity of employees forced to work in the confinements of their home has exponentially grown, primarily due to the social distancing program. While it initially resulted in uncertainty and doubt, various reports state that workers enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working from home. Furthermore, this has allowed for additional time enjoyed with family which many have come to appreciate and hopefully attempt to replicate in the future by shifting priorities to family before work. Multiple firms agree that once the pandemic is overcome likely a drastic shift regarding working remotely will occur, and therefore time spent working in proximity to others will decrease.
Jane Goodall recently released a statement that has resonated with many viewers globally with which I, alongside my family, are in total agreement. It discussed the connection between the global coronavirus pandemic and humanity’s disregard for and mistreatment of nature. “We are all interconnected” she stated, and if this is not valued by all members of our society and if regulations to permanently ban wet markets and the illegal trade in wildlife are not adopted and enforced, humanity will continue to be exposed to various infectious diseases as a result of our disregard towards nature and the interference of humans with wildlife and their habitats. It is in our best interests to cultivate a deeper and more profound respect towards nature, which many youths in our time have become passionate about. Hopefully, once humankind has recovered from this hardship we will prefer the world we have discovered to the one that was left and thus continue in a more sustainable, less wasteful manner that benefits everyone.
I sincerely hope that the additional time we have been granted is used in a positive, memorable manner to ensure that we emerge from this crisis stronger, instilled with a deeper appreciation for all the world has to offer and a spring in our steps that will steadily guide us into the future. Let the spark of creativity that resides within us grow into an inferno of ideas and hope instead of returning to our previous ignorant ways.