Covid-19: What’s our next move?

We asked NTSN Member Lindsay Green about how the past year is influencing her plans for the future.

Clock 2 min read Calendar Published: 30 Apr 2021
Author Luke Garbutt
Covid-19: What’s our next move?

Lindsay Green, Assistant Director of Disability Services @ Marymount Manhattan College

The last year has been pivotal for us all.

Students with disabilities and those who support and advocate for them have been especially impacted. Remote learning has changed the game for accommodations and communication with students.

Two key takeaways

What I learned the most is that no matter what happens, this community will show up and make the necessary adaptations to create access and opportunity for students with disabilities.

I also learned that students are resilient and that the more you communicate with them, the more they are willing and able to work with and create an inclusive, welcoming environment thriving for accessibility.

The road ahead

My institution is moving towards a predominantly in-person mode of education in the Fall.

This means that our testing room will need to adapt to fulfill social distancing standards, our tutoring services will also return to face to face; it’ll once again change how we do things.

Moving from remote and virtual models, one thing that has crossed my mind is the transition students will face converting back to a traditional setting. We’ll need to consider possible social anxiety (and anxieties around COVID-19), guiding them back to a campus schedule and the need for sustained concentration.

What’s different now?

Over the last year, students have had the opportunity to do schoolwork on their own time, they had time to review their notes and they had time to take for themselves. Now that commuting, working in person and other social engagements are resuming, consideration for structuring time management may need to take place.

Adjustment requirements for communication is another aspect that will change. Offices that require in- person intake meetings and all communications to happen in-person can be shifted to a choice on the student; do they want a phone-call, a video call or an in-person meeting? Adjusting communication while creating opportunity for choice will be impactful to the students and will show recognition of the past 12 months.

It’s time for transformation

Since this pandemic has left such a mark on society and on education, it is important that we acknowledge that we cannot just revert to a model that existed and may have worked in the past. We need to revolutionize the classroom experience, think about how social engagements and communications can affect students and what ways we can adapt and move to a model that works for each specific student.

We’ve seen how remote education has been successful. Now we can take aspects of these models and bring them to a hybrid approach and more. Taking in the needs and considerations of each student is important, especially in this time of transition to in-person learning.

Moving forward, I want to create a reliable, inclusive experience for students who are receiving accommodations so that in the future, if another pandemic alters the way education is being offered, the stable foundation is already built.

This means supporting students in a full, holistic way while also setting up cohesive streamlined methods of allocating support services and accommodations virtually and in-person.

Brass tacks

Overall, I believe the last year introduced positive change to education and forcefully made institutions take a look at their practices and move to a model that is inclusive and efficient for students to succeed in.

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