Empathy a necessity for school in a pandemic

Emily Johnston, Assistant Opinion Editor

Last semester when UVM went online professors repeated one phrase to their students: we understand this is a rough time.

It is a rough time; online learning is not great for many students and adding in the extra stress from the neverending pandemic only makes things harder.

Nowadays, COVID rates are exceeding levels pre-shutdown, and yet the empathy seen last semester is missing when it shouldn’t be.

Kindness and understanding got a lot of students through the second half of last semester, the issues we faced then are still prevalent right now as we transition to online classes again.

 Just because we had half a semester of experience online it does not make it any easier– the transition from in-person to online will always be tough.

Being flexible with due dates, giving easier assignments/exams and being accommodating to students who ask for help are all things professors can do to help students succeed in a pandemic.

Online classes for many, including myself, are extremely difficult to focus on.

The Green and Gold promise allowed students to choose between being completely remote or partially on-campus.

The population of students at home never left the isolation we all felt when classes went online last semester.

Sometimes parents or family members do not understand that being in a class means you have to focus. There are chores and distractions, like taking care of siblings or cleaning, at home that an on-campus education does not have.

For students who are neurodivergent, getting assignments in was already a daunting task. 

With added stress and the ease of distraction, neurodivergent students can get lost in the shuffle of corona and academics.

For me, last semester my professors deciding they were no longer taking points off for an assignment being late saved my grades.

I know many other students feel similar, and I know many students who are now realizing they need a break more than they need to graduate on time.

The semester is almost over, after Thanksgiving we are all online.

The problems students faced in online classes last semester are still problems faced now, and going fully remote is only going to emphasize this.

Society never fully went back to normal. It is time professors stop acting like it did.

Even for those who chose the on-campus option, classes are not as familiar as they once were.

The learning environment at-home and in-person is changed forever.

The stress and pressure put on students to do as well as they did not in a pandemic sometimes is too much.

When considering the fact that we have to worry about catching a disease, still, on top of a pile of schoolwork, show empathy.

Without understanding, this pandemic becomes rougher than it needs to be.