It’s been two years since the pandemic first hit, and things have changed in so many ways. One of the most significant changes has been the way we learn. With schools and universities shutting down, face-to-face learning has been replaced by online learning almost overnight.
But as we start to emerge from the pandemic, there are signs that face-to-face learning is making a comeback—and with it, some of the services that have been sidelined for the past year.
With face-to-face classes returning, some services came back with it
When classes went online due to the pandemic, many campus services saw a decrease in usage. With students no longer coming to campus daily, there was less need for things like the bookstore, the dining hall, and even the library.
However, now that classes are starting to return to in-person formats, those services are beginning to see an uptick in usage once again. Students are once again needing things like textbooks and meals, and they are taking advantage of the library for studying and research. In some ways, it feels like things are returning to normal.
For example, many people are getting their hair cut and styled for the first time in months. Others are starting to use public transportation again to get to work or school. And some businesses that were struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic are starting to see an influx of customers as people return to their normal routines. All of this is a reminder that, even during a pandemic, life goes on. And as we start to reemerge from our homes, we’re reminded of all the things we took for granted before – like being able to get a haircut or take the bus to work.
It’s not just academia that is seeing a return to face-to-face classes. Art therapy is another field that is finding that there are benefits to in-person teaching. It relies on the interaction between the therapist and the patient to create a safe space for self-expression. This interaction is essential to the success of art therapy, and it can be difficult to recreate virtually. For this reason, many art therapists are returning to in-person classes. In addition, art therapy patients are often more comfortable attending in-person sessions. This is because they feel a stronger connection with their therapist and can more fully engage in the therapeutic process. Consequently, art therapy is another field that is seeing a return to face-to-face classes.
Relevant then, more relevant now
Custodial staff play an important role in keeping school buildings clean and safe for students and staff. During remote learning, custodians were still working hard to keep schools clean. But with fewer people in the buildings, their jobs looked a little different.
After all, it is the custodial staff who are responsible for keeping our classrooms and public spaces clean and safe. In a time of increased anxiety and stress, this is no small feat. Custodial staff work tirelessly to ensure that our learning environments are sanitized and free of dust, debris, and other potential hazards. At times they have had to ensure that proper pest control measures like termite inspections are in place and called professional help to do this. Our schools and colleges would not be able to function without them.
Now that we’re returning to face-to-face classes, custodians will be back to their regular routines. They’ll be cleaning classrooms, restrooms, and common areas multiple times a day to make sure they’re safe for students and staff.
For many students, a school cafeteria is a place where they can get a nutritious meal and socialize with their friends. But with remote learning, students haven’t been able to enjoy those meals or socialize in person.
Though when most people think of school food service, they probably don’t consider it to be a particularly relevant or important part of their day-to-day lives. But the truth is they provide nutritious meals for students and staff and also help to reduce the spread of germs and promote hygiene in the food they serve. In addition, school food services can also help to provide a sense of normalcy and routine for students during these uncertain times.
Now that we’re returning to face-to-face classes, food service workers will be back to preparing fresh meals for students each day. Students will also be able to purchase snacks and drinks from the vending machines in the cafeteria.
Maintenance and Repair Services
During remote learning, there was still a need for maintenance and repair services in school buildings. But with fewer people in the buildings, there were also fewer calls for these services.
With students and faculty returning to campus, there is an increased need for these services. For example, there may be a need for repairs to classroom furniture or equipment or maintenance of outdoor spaces. In addition, there is an increased demand for housekeeping services, as students and faculty are spending more time on campus.
Now that we’re returning to face-to-face classes, there will be an increased need for these services. These workers will be responsible for fixing any broken furniture or equipment in the classrooms and common areas. They might also be called on to get newer pieces of machinery like solar panels to offset electricity usage or fix air conditioning systems.
It’s been a long year of remote learning. But as we return to face-to-face classes, some services have become relevant again. Custodial services, food services, and maintenance and repair services are just a few of the essential workers who help make our schools safe and comfortable places to learn.