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PLoS One ; 16(10): e0258137, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448582


Online education, including college English education, has been developing rapidly in the recent decade in China. Such aspects as e-readiness, benefits and challenges of online education were well-researched under normal situations, but fully online language teaching on a large-scale in emergencies may tell a different story. A survey of 2310 non-English-major college students and 149 English teachers from three types of twelve higher education institutions in Wuhan was conducted to evaluate their readiness for online English education during the COVID-19 pandemic, to figure out challenges encountered by them and to draw implications for future online college English education. Quantitative statistics gathered using two readiness scales adapted from previous studies showed that both cohorts were slightly below the ready level for the unexpected online transition of college English education. The overall level of readiness for students was 3.68 out of a score of 5, and that for teachers was 3.70. Individual differences were explored and reported. An analysis of qualitative results summarized six categories of challenges encountered by the students, i.e. technical challenges, challenges concerning learning process, learning environment, self-control, efficiency and effectiveness, and health concern. Though the students reported the highest level of readiness in technology access, they were most troubled by technical problems during online study. For teachers, among three types of challenges, they were most frustrated by pedagogical ones, especially students' disengagement in online class. The survey brought insights for online college English education development. Institutions should take the initiative and continue promoting the development of online college English education, because a majority of the respondents reported their willingness and intention to continue learning/teaching English in online or blended courses in the post-pandemic period. They are supposed to remove technical barriers for teachers and students, and assess the readiness levels of both cohorts before launching English courses online. Institutions should also arrange proper training for instructors involved, especially about pedagogical issues. Language teachers are suggested to pay special attention to students' engagement and communication in online courses.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Education, Distance , Educational Personnel/psychology , Students/psychology , Academic Performance , Adult , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , China/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Language , Learning , Male , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0255517, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376622


BACKGROUND: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about widespread infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) initiated prospective national surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in primary schools across England (sKIDs). We used this opportunity to assess the feasibility and agreeability of large-scale surveillance and testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school among staff, parents and students. METHODS: Staff and students in 131 primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire at recruitment and provide weekly nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing (n = 86) or swabs with blood samples for antibody testing (n = 45) at the beginning and end the summer half-term. In six blood sampling schools, students were asked to complete a pictorial questionnaire before and after their investigations. RESULTS: In total, 135 children aged 4-7 years (n = 40) or 8-11 years (n = 95) completed the pictorial questionnaire fully or partially. Prior to sampling, oral fluid sampling was the most acceptable test (107/132, 81%) followed by throat swabs (80/134, 59%), nose swabs (77/132, 58%), and blood tests (48/130, 37%). Younger students were more nervous about all tests than older students but, after completing their tests, most children reported a "better than expected" experience with all the investigations. Students were more likely to agree to additional testing for nose swabs (93/113, 82%) and oral fluid (93/114, 82%), followed by throat swabs (85/113, 75%) and blood tests (72/108, 67%). Parents (n = 3,994) and staff (n = 2,580) selected a preference for weekly testing with nose swabs, throat swabs or oral fluid sampling, although staff were more flexible about testing frequency. CONCLUSIONS: Primary school staff and parents were supportive of regular tests for SARS-CoV-2 and selected a preference for weekly testing. Children preferred nose swabs and oral fluids over throat swabs or blood sampling.

COVID-19/diagnosis , Educational Personnel/psychology , Students/psychology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , England , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , Parents/psychology , Pharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Schools , Surveys and Questionnaires