By Alejandro Flores
It came like a predicted tsunami. Covid, a force that began quietly and powerful, something only a few were prepared for. A [Pandemic], a word not commonly known to many before the year 2019. One that now holds true meaning to everyone and severe consequences that still affect many. While some work on recuperating lost jobs, relationships, and the ability to go about their normal daily routine, others remain wounded. Physically, mentally, and emotionally the aftershocks of Covid are present. Covid 19 once labeled as a novice virus continues to impact every student at East Los Angeles College.
In-person learning experiences has been transformed from engaged classrooms to virtual meetings where personalities are filtered by muted mics and videos that rarely turn on. Teachers teach audiences of faceless profiles causing staff and students to further alienate from one another. The learning system has become the survival of the fittest where weak ones may be left behind and only those equipped with the necessary time and technology move ahead in their educational career.
After the initial shock of the stay-at-home orders, the days and months all begin to look the same. For many students daily social interactions that were once avoided are now missed and craved. There is no home away from home. No daily commute to prepare the mind for the school or workday. Less random acts of kindness to experience on Gloomy Mondays or Happy Fridays. Coworkers and classmates are torn apart causing some people to lose their closest confidants. Besides the social interactions, some students depend on in-person instruction. Zoom classes do not account for students who experience learning disabilities. Specifically, the learning disabilities that have gone undiagnosed and untreated. Some of these students are grieving academic and personal losses, alone.
In-person meetings allow students to practice multimodal learning where teachers have visual, auditory, and tactile supports to use when providing instruction. Students learning on campus have equal access to a positive academic learning environment. Something so necessary that unfortunately, not all students are privileged to have in their quarantined lives. In-person instruction provides students with a support mechanism where classmates can find support in each other. Joan Perez a biology major expressed her frustration attempting labs online, “If all the terminology can get confusing in, now imagine what online look like.” There is a desperation for in-person academia.
The time has come to rise to the occasion and join the fight. Now that vaccines are available to everyone 12 years and older, ELAC students must unite and once again be the strong community it is known to be. John a Kin major was asked to share his thought about most classes still being held online his words are wise ones, “If bars and restaurants are open, so should schools.” ELAC is made up of minorities and the strong should take care of the wounded together, in person. Proving the love, compassion, and support may have been quarantined all these months.