HNow, ultimately, we will recall that the 2020 pandemic is not yet known. At this moment, it is the omnipotent crisis, which dominates every waking moment. For those who are interested in the news, there are the daily death totals, surpassing those of September 11, and reminders that a vaccine is here but not here, there are still many months to go to end this hell for good.
But a more deadly pandemic in 1918 and 1919 was largely lost to history, swallowed up by the end of the First World War and the roaring 1920s, mass death barely made a dent in the long-term psyche of the nation. The generation that lived through the coronavirus can talk about it until they die or choose, like their ancestors at the beginning of the 20th century, to bury it and focus on new horizons.
Covid-19 has shown us, at least, what will be necessary and what we can absolutely do without. There are administrative jobs that can be done properly from home. For some companies, large offices in central business districts are an extravagant waste of money. Hygiene, we hope, will change forever, with routine hand washing and the occasional use of masks in busy areas that are standardized in the United States. One hundred years ago, survivors of the flu pandemic learned about the importance of fresh air and adequate ventilation, and this is a lesson that we were forced, in dire circumstances, to internalize again.
We also learned what we don’t want: a world completely consumed by screens. Yes, we will maintain our addictions to smartphones, and laptops and tablets will continue to consume much of our time within our homes. The pandemic has driven Stock zoom by 500%. For many of us, this has been 2020: one Zoom after another, human faces in little boxes. In the early months of the pandemic, there were Zoom birthday parties, Zoom cocktails, Zoom Easter, and Zoom Easter. The life we had lost needed to be approximated, as much as possible, by Zoomworld, forging connections and alleviating boredom.
After a while, I didn’t want to zoom anymore. I am sure he was not alone. Every drifting gaze, faulty connection, and nostalgic joke about how long we’d all be inside the bar again was a reminder of what he’d lost. As the year progressed and I tried to navigate a world with such a conflicting public health orientation, and sporadically scheduled friends’ gatherings, I knew I never wanted to endure another social interaction on a screen again. It was a flattened, condensed reality, drained of what it should be. The more I spoke with the pixelated and distant face in front of me, the more I remembered that this facsimile of my previous life was nothing like what I wanted.
The children had a worse time. For years, tech maximalists had sold us a future of screen education; Why have physical classrooms? The Internet offered unlimited possibilities. Information was everywhere, easily accessible at the touch of a key. Students in the 21st century classroom would simply need to load lessons onto their screens. A teacher only had to be a face trapped in a fancy tablet.
As we have learned, remote learning in public schools has been a disaster. The huge inequality gaps have only been exacerbated, with the wealthiest students enjoying an in-person education in private schools, while the poorest students suffer in school districts that have sent many of them home. Not all students have a working Internet. Others live in chaotic homes that make daily learning impossible. In December, families defendant the state of California, alleging that school districts failed to provide “basic educational equity” for children of color from low-income backgrounds during the pandemic.
Rectifying this gap (universal access to broadband is a worthy goal) would make remote learning more viable, but it is still a poor substitute for the socialization that accompanies education in a physical classroom. Students make friends, learn from each other, and form crucial bonds with their teachers. Young children have a special need for in-person learning. Proper mental and emotional development cannot occur in isolation.
Many people understood this before the pandemic. But over a long period of time, there were those who argued that more technology would enhance the educational experience. To improve test scores, of course, big techs loved a lengthy standardized test, just pay for an interactive whiteboard in each classroom and shell out individual tablets. Why was this better? Well it was shiny and new.
Higher education, long overpriced, faces its own post-pandemic reckoning, with many smaller schools threatened with closure. College students may find that some educational functions can be performed remotely. However the MOOC The revolution and online-only schools will not be able to supplant the surviving colleges and universities that prioritize in-person education. Few students who endured a year of Zoom classes will demand more of them when the pandemic ends. Meanwhile, teachers will be eager to resume life within a classroom, where lively discussions and genuine learning can take place naturally without the mediator of a Zoom screen.
The pandemic made it easy to imagine an approaching dystopia – one in which, for years to come, we would all cut ourselves off from light and air, too terrified to venture outdoors. Instead of going to the bar or the gym, we would build our own worlds within our four walls, content to approach the reality we once knew.
Instead, we rediscovered parks and trails, flocked to beaches, and revolutionized city streets with alfresco dining. We get tired of our devices. There is no application or program that can reproduce the laugh of a friend across the table or the lesson of a teacher in front of a classroom. After the pandemic, in a post-vaccination world, we will return to our old lives. Zoomworld will belong to history.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.