By Jeremy Kaufman
Everyone is looking forward to the time when we can look back at the pandemic as something completely in the past. However, we are increasingly realizing that unless there is a major change, the coronavirus is here to stay. So, therefore we can expect there to be permanent changes to the way that we live beyond 2021. Logically, our academics will be among the many aspects of our lives that will have to change.
While there may be a point when the virus is contained to a minimum, there will always be those who are immunocompromised or cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. Adelphi from now on should always offer a greater variety of courses for those who cannot attend in-person classes. Zoom classes should be as diverse in options as other classes. Furthermore, some students, including me, may have found Zoom classes to be easier than in-person. These students would especially benefit from these changes.
The coronavirus pandemic will likely change the academics at Adelphi in other ways as well. We were not alone as many other people stayed home to do work. In fact, many people theorize that the coronavirus is simply the beginning of a trend. Not only will some lower level employees be working from their bedrooms, but we may soon see whole companies moving most of their workers to a work-at-home routine. I was surprised a few weeks ago to learn that my father’s company was even encouraging people to go back to work in the city, let alone telling him to come back. Less than a week ago, my suspicions were confirmed when I found out that my father would in fact be staying at home. Nevertheless, in the United States, business is changing. Likewise, so is education. Over the past five years, there has been a massive shift towards STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. One of the newly dominant STEM fields is coding and other computer sciences. Coding in particular is a field that can be accessed from a good computer at home. However, for those who don’t have access to a steady internet connection at home, such classes can be offered in-person as well.
Another STEM field that may come to mind as being relevant in this new era is particularly related to the coronavirus and pandemics in general. During the pandemic, many people were surprised at different things that happened across the globe. Among these things were how easily the virus spread and also how misinformation can change peoples’ behavior. Information technologies are especially relevant to misinformation.
Perhaps the most important change that I foresee at universities such as Adelphi is a new outlook on medicine. Ever since the beginning of modern science, medicine has been seen as a major field of study. However, this has never been more true than since the start of the Covid pandemic. Therefore, one can imagine that at Adelphi, which has a renowned nursing program, we will see an even further emphasis on healthcare. Nursing is not the only field that has seen the spotlight during the pandemic. Among the fields in medicine that will have a greater place in academia thanks to Covid-19 and the events during the pandemic are social work and psychology. During the pandemic, many people have suffered from loneliness and psychological trauma. This is especially true in low-income and other marginalized communities. There should be more of an emphasis on helping others physically and also emotionally. This would be a positive change despite the pandemic. I also believe that more people may consider going into medicine or other emerging fields after seeing how important these fields are now.