The continuing spread of Covid-19 has presented many challenges for students and Universities worldwide.
Starting college or returning to classes can be stressful at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic.
While the world continues to battle Covid-19, professionals are monitoring a growing crisis among young adults struggling with mental health problems, including suicidal ideation, anxiety and depression related to the pandemic.
The most common ways that COVID-19 has impacted a student’s life:
According to students that participated in the Active Minds Survey, the most important things for their college committee to be thinking about in the short, and long term, for student mental health during and after the pandemic include:
Increased academic support
Increased investment in counselling
Having empathy, compassion, and communicating an understanding of what the world is experiencing
Applying safety measures to help to keep students and employees healthy and safe
Facing a BIG CHANGE
Students life and college experience might be different in 2021 to previous years due the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
However, staff are working hard to ensure that all students can begin and continue their studies without too much further disruption.
Tips for students returning.
Ensure that you know where and how to access the academic supports provided at your college.
Find out what the institution is doing to make things as safe as possible.
Remind yourself that the current situation will not last forever and that any negative feelings should pass.
Re-establish a routine.
No one knows exactly what the future will be like, but it is important to remember that these changes will not be forever.
In the UK, dental schools have been forced to incorporate online teaching into their course.
Whilst this has been difficult for both the programme coordinators and students, it also has its positives.
Due to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, we are forced to stay adaptable as the timetables are constantly changing.
Lectures are mostly pre-recorded which means students are free to study on their own schedule.
Tutorials are live and after overcoming technical difficulties, they mimic the same face-to-face teaching obtained on campus. Clinics are still on campus but with strict protocols.
Moving to online teaching will most likely lead to a more online-focussed course in the future.
It’s become apparent that face-to-face lectures are not as effective and a waste of resources.
However, more focus should be put on in-person tutorials to cover material effectively as pre-recorded lectures do not present the option to ask questions and provide an all-rounded learning experience.
Clinical exposure is vital as a dental student.
Students in the older years have had to catch up on clinical practise due to its cessation earlier in the year. Because of the setup of most dental teaching clinics, the spread of aerosols is more likely.
A positive outcome has been that there is much more focus on infection control in universities and also practices.
In general, first-year students have had a difficult time integrating into university.
Students living on campus have been faced with the difficulty of isolation in a vital time of their university life.
Living away from home for the first time and having to isolate can have a huge impact on their mental wellbeing. As a biomedicine graduate living at home, it has its own challenges.
However, dental schools are making a conscious effort to provide support.
There has been a huge development in the way dental schools operate. The decision to move online has been monumental and the potential of academic development in the future is vast.
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