As universities reopen for in-classroom teaching post-pandemic, educators face an incoming student body quite different, in many ways, from previous incoming students. As Unit 4 Employees, many of these returning students will be familiar to you, and you to them. This can make it easier for you to assist in their education post-pandemic.
Unfortunately, incoming freshman will not have that same connection. For these students, the challenges of adapting to a new school environment are now compounded by the challenges of readjusting to the in-person educational environment.
Tutoring for Learning Loss
One of the biggest hurdles educators will face as students return to campus is the notable learning loss incurred during the approximate year-and-a-half spent outside of the classroom.
One way Unit 4 Employees can prepare to deal with this challenge among freshman students is to help implement a structured tutoring system, whereby any freshman can receive extra help on any subject outside of scheduled classroom time.
This can be accomplished without overburdening the existing classroom educators by enlisting upper-level students to provide this supplementary education.
Counseling for Emotional Struggles
All Unit 4 Employees who work with freshman students must prepare for a likely increase in the emotional struggles students will be facing and exhibiting upon their return to the classroom. Freshman students have much less grounding in a new educational environment in the most normal of circumstances, let alone post-pandemic.
Counseling can serve both students and the Unit 4 Employees as well. Employees who participate in counseling for their own pandemic-related struggles, may be better prepared to serve students in a more open, attentive, and proactive manner.
Unit 4 Employees can also prepare to help students who are experiencing emotional difficulties coming back to the classroom by practicing patience. Returning students, and incoming freshmen in particular, may be more inclined to emotional episodes, trouble focusing, completing assignments on time, or other struggles post-pandemic than they were pre-pandemic. Preparing to take a calmer, more patient approach to these students in those moments can go a long way toward helping those students overcome those issues and return to the excitement and rewards of learning.
Health & Safety Concerns
Similar to attending to one’s own mental and emotional health concerns while re-acclimating, another instrumental way to help everyone on campus reacclimate with comfort and confidence is for all Unit 4 Employees to make sure they are in the best possible health.
Many of the concerns Unit 4 Employees may have regarding the proper preparations for returning to campus can be addressed and alleviated by simply communicating those concerns to their supervisor. Speak with your supervisor to make sure you are aware of any of your duties that might have changed or any changes on campus that could affect the performance of your duties. Supervisors don’t have to wait for employees to come to them seeking out this information either. They can take the initiative to properly empower each Unit 4 employee to better navigate the shifting terrain ahead.
No matter how well staff worked together as a department prior to the pandemic, the team returning to campus will naturally require some adjustment to realize that level of cohesion again. Supervisors can take extra efforts to help facilitate this as well.
Supervisors can also benefit from speaking with their counterparts at other CSU campuses to see how each one has addressed, or solved, the same or similar changes you’re both facing.
Before returning to campus, Unit 4 Employees should also make sure they understand all the current agreements between APC and CSU. Every Unit 4 employee should review the latest MOUs and any new or amended policies implemented post-pandemic. If you are at all unsure about any of these MOUs or policies, you can always contact APC with your questions.
04Incoming freshman in any era face challenges acclimating to the new university environment. Post-pandemic, it’s even more essential that Unit 4 Employees pay close attention to these students as they start this new chapter of their educational journey. Stay alert to any behavior that’s out of the ordinary, whether among the student body or fellow staff. Then, you can take quick and immediate action to help those individuals better adapt to this new reality and nip those challenges in the bud.
“How To Bring Employees Back To Work After The Pandemic”; Forbes
“Post-pandemic, the office will now have a whole new look”; CNBC
“3 first steps for creating a post-COVID workplace”; Human Resource Executive
“For college freshmen, pandemic results in a first-year experience unlike any other”; The Washington Post