Although each and every country is at a different point when it comes to COVID-19 infection rates, there are currently more than 1.2 billion children across 186 countries that have been affected by school closures due to the pandemic. This harsh reality has forced a crash course for online learning plans and technology for both students and faculty, as many educators are now turning to online learning in order to continue with the educational system. 

With a rise in video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and WebEx, the move into online education wasn’t a difficult one. In fact, for some, it was something they may have already been working towards. 

Moreover, the need for school based student therapy will potentially increase for some students with the new challenges of online learning. Having the ability to reach students through technology allows providers to continue these vital services. Many states were implementing school-based telehealth programs before the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal to increase student access to healthcare services. COVID-19 has made this transition extremely urgent and potentially the only available option for providers to reach students. 

While there are challenges to implementation, the benefits of school-based telehealth are many. When students need to see their counselor or specialist, school-based telemedicine programs help students quickly connect with providers. Telehealth programs have the potential to improve service absentee rates and lessen the impact of missing classes during service provision. School-based telehealth programs have the potential to reduce the burden placed on school providers. The national average student-counselor ratio was 482 to 1 in the 2014-2015 school year, the most recent year for which data is available.

New England Medical Billing provides SimpleNote, a secure web based software that allows providers to document and submit their services from anywhere with internet access. SimpleNote is our proprietary software at no cost to providers. The system simplifies the daily task of IEP services note taking for your staff. 100% HIPAA and FERPA compliant, SimpleNote software meets all state and federal guidelines with the ability to customize by state.

While there are challenges to online learning, it’s been the perfect response for schools during COVID-19, and here’s why:

It Allows For Continuity Within Education

Although the education system may not be the same when it is taught online, it allows for continuity. With classes running Monday-Friday in a controlled setting, students are able to resume a similar working pattern to the one they were used to pre-COVID-19. As young children, this is something that is incredibly important when it comes to development and learning. 

Learning Online Has Been Proven To Be More Effective For Some 

For those who have access to the right technology, online learning can often be a much more effective way to learn. 

Research shows that on average, students can retain as much as 25-60% more information when they’re studying online, as they’re able to work at a much faster pace. In classrooms, the rate drops to only 8-10%. From limited distractions to working in a comforting space, there are a number of different reasons as to why students may perform better at home. 

The main reason, of course, is that they can work at their own pace. This means that they can spend more time going back and re-reading, or they can accelerate through chapters that they understand. Without varying levels of students changing the pace, everyone can work at a pace that makes them feel comfortable. 

Learning Using Technology Is Often More Fun, Especially For Those That Are Younger 

With studies showing that children extensively use their senses to learn, making learning fun and effective through the use of technology is a crucial part of online learning. 

As a technology-driven generation, learning online instantly becomes more stimulating than learning in a classroom may be, especially for those that are younger. With the integration of games and video, online learning has already demonstrated it can lead to higher engagement and increased motivation towards learning. In some cases, it has made learning much easier for students who may have struggled in the past.

Online Learning Can Also Lead To A More Personalized Experience 

Another way in which online learning is the perfect COVID-19 response for school comes down to the personalized experience it allows teachers and educators to create.  

In most cases, it has allowed teachers to personalize the tool and support that they offer, thanks to the number of different resources available to them online. From Blackboard to Canvas, education management systems allow for a much more personalized experience. 

When it comes to Zoom and other video chats, students now feel as though they’re all in the front row. Students can no longer hide away and as a result, they can be more attentive to those that need it. With both public and private chats in use during classes, students that may have feared to ask a question in the past have the opportunity to speak up and speak to the teacher on their own terms. 

As a result, technology makes it easier for struggling students to signal their need for help and revisit resources like videos so that they have more time to digest them.

Online Learning May Be More Accessible 

Finally, online learning is much more accessible when it comes to those who may not be able to learn in the same way as others. For example, if someone struggles to attend school every day due to it being overstimulating, working in a safe space where they feel comfortable may allow them to attend classes they may not have been able to before. Similarly, technology allows for those that need aids and devices to learn the same opportunity as others. 

Although there are a number of downsides to online learning, it’s a great solution for schools looking to continue with education during this difficult time. From the accessibility and ease of use, it’s allowing children to resume the education they deserve. 

As education systems become more acclimated to online learning platforms, there may be a rising need for IEP Telehealth as it relates to providing medical care for students. IEP-required medical services such as therapies, nursing and psychologist services, may be provided via telemedicine for students as an additional component to online learning. The good news is, there are new medical billing codes that can make IEP Telehealth easier to administer and collect reimbursements for. With the onset of COVID-19, these temporary medical billing codes have been introduced statewide to offer education systems more support for facilitating these services. For more information about how medical billing can help with IEP Telehealth contact us.

In addition to SimpleNote software, New England Medical Billing can provide school Medicaid expertise for the transition to telehealth services. Contact NEMB for an introduction to our services and free assessment of your current Medicaid School Billing.

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