Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on the Academic Performance of Students in Afe Babalola University

ABSTRACT

This study was carried out on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the academic performance of students in Afe Babalola University. The study was limited to the Afe Babalola University. This study used a descriptive survey design method. The survey research design was used because the study relied on primary data collected from sampled respondents. The population of this study consisted of students in Afe Babalola University. The total population of the study was 478 students, collected from the class attendance of students from the various departments. The researcher utilized the Taro Yamane formula to evaluate the sample size of the study to arrive at a sample size of 218. The main instrument for data collection used in this study was the self-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire used a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire. Data analysis is a continuous procedure that happens all through research. The study employed SPSS 19.0 in analyzing the responses from respondents and the results were presented in tables, frequencies, and percentages. The findings of the study showed that the respondents had an excellent knowledge of Covid-19 among selected students in Afe Babalola University. Also, the study showed that Covid-19 had adverse effects on the education and academic performance of the students in Afe Babalola University. Lastly, preventive measures for Covid-19 such as regular sanitation with alcohol-based sanitizer, use of face mask and were applied among the students in Afe Babalola University. The study recommended that interventions comprising health literacy and information programmes, and organizing community wide awareness campaign should be targeted at schools and community residents at all levels to ensure better perception towards adhering to the preventive measures of COVID-19.

 

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1       Conceptual review

2.1.1    Concept of Coronavirus

Coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is an emerging respiratory disease that is caused by a novel coronavirus and was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China 2021 (Abdallah and Lee, 2021). The disease is highly infectious, and its main clinical symptoms include fever, dry cough, fatigue, myalgia, and dyspnea. In China, 18.5% of the patients with COVID-19 develop to the severe stage, which is characterized by acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, difficult-to-tackle metabolic acidosis, and bleeding and coagulation dysfunction (Utibe, 2019).

The first infected patient who had clinical manifestations such as fever, cough, and dyspnea was reported on 12 December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, 2019-nCoV has spread rapidly to other countries via different ways such as airline traveling and now, COVID-19 is the world’s pandemic problem (Felix, 2020).

Coronaviruses (CoV) infections are emerging respiratory viruses and known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) (Yin et al., 2019). CoV is zoonotic pathogens that can be transmitted via animal-to-human and human-to-human. Multiple epidemic outbreaks occurred during 2002 (SARS) with ~800 deaths and 2021 (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: MERS-CoV) with 860 deaths (Lee, 2020). Approximately eight years after the MERS-CoV epidemic, the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China, has emerged as a global outbreak and significant public health issue. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Astonishingly, in the first week of March, a devastating number of new cases have been reported globally, emerging as a pandemic. As of 9 March 2020, more than 110,000 confirmed cases across 105 countries and more than 3800 deaths have been reported (Philemon et al., 2020).

The COVID-19 is spread by human-to-human through droplets, feco-oral, and direct contact, with an incubation period of 2-14 days. So far, no antiviral treatment or vaccine has been recommended explicitly for COVID-19. Therefore, applying the preventive measure to control COVID-19 infection is the utmost critical intervention. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are the primary section in contact with patients and are an important source of exposure to the infected cases in the healthcare settings, thus, expected to be at a high risk of infections. By the end of January, the WHO and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have published recommendations for the prevention and control of COVID-19 for HCWs. Indeed, the WHO also initiated several online training sessions and materials on COVID-19 in various languages to strengthen the preventive strategies, including raising awareness, and training HCWs preparedness activities (Malik, 2020). In several instances, misunderstandings of HCWs delayed controlling efforts to provide necessary treatment, implicate rapid spread of infection in hospitals, and also may put the patients’ lives at risk. In this regard, the COVID-19 epidemic offers a unique opportunity to investigate the level of knowledge, and perceptions of HCWs during this global health crisis. Besides, we also explored the role of different information sources in shaping HCWs knowledge and perceptions on COVID-19 during this peak period.

It seems that the current widespread outbreak has been partly associated with a delay in diagnosis and poor infection control procedures. As transmission within hospitals and protection of healthcare workers are important steps in the epidemic, the understanding or having enough information regarding sources, clinical manifestations, transmission routes, and prevention ways among healthcare workers can play roles for this gal assessment (Malik, 2020). Since nurses are in close contact with infected people, they are the main part of the infection transmission chain and their knowledge of 2019-nCoV prevention and protection procedures can help prevent the transmission chain. Iran is one of the most epidemic countries for COVID-19 and there is no information regarding the awareness and attitude of Iranian nurses about this infectious disease 2021 (Abdallah and Lee, 2021).

Read Also: Coranvirus Project Topics

 

2.1.2    The virus, its origins and evolution

Coronavirus is believed to be transmitted through respiratory aerosols, which were released while an SARS patient coughs or sneezes (Malik, 2020). Viral infection will spread from the droplets of cough or sneeze of an infected patient are propelled in surroundings via air and will infect the nearby people who are nearby through several ways like mouth, nose or eyes. The virus also can spread by touching infected surfaces, and then touching the mouth, nose, or eye (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) probably first emerged in Guangdong around November 2002. Many of the affected individuals in November and December 2002 had contact with the live-game trade. The disease was described as an “infectious atypical pneumonia” because of its propensity to cause clusters of disease in families and healthcare workers. The etiological agent of SARS was identified as a new coronavirus not previously endemic in humans 2021 (Abdallah and Lee, 2021). The lack of serological evidence of previous infection in healthy humans suggested that COVID-19 had recently emerged in the human population and that animal-to-human interspecies transmission seemed the most probable explanation for its emergence. Specimens collected from apparently healthy animals (e.g., Himalayan palm civets (Paguma larvata) and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides)) found in live wild-game animal markets in Guangdong yielded a COVID-19-like virus with more than 99% nucleotide homology to the human COVID-19. But the wild-animal reservoir in nature still has not been identified conclusively. Many workers who handled animals in these wet markets had antibody to the related animal COVID-19-like virus although they had no history of a SARS-like disease. Taken together with the observation that a number of the SARS-affected individuals in November and December 2002 had epidemiological links to the wild-game animal trade, it is likely that these wet markets in Guangdong provided the interface for transmission to humans. The early interspecies transmissions to humans were probably inefficient, causing little human disease or transmission between humans. Eventually, the animal precursor COVID-19-like virus probably adapted to more efficient human-to-human transmission, and Coronavirus emerged (Kwok, 2021).

 

2.1.3    Epidemiology

Fifty-three percent of probable cases of Coronavirus reported to the WHO were female, and all age groups were affected (age range 0–100 y). Worldwide, Coronavirus was strikingly a nosocomially acquired infection. Health care workers comprised 22% of reported cases in Hong Kong and Guangdong, China and >40% in Canada and Singapore (Lin et al., 2020). A complex mix of agent, host-biologic, and behavioral factors and environmental context determine the magnitude and spread of outbreaks. Not all cities or countries that received even the earliest Coronavirus importations experienced sustained transmission or outbreaks. For example, in Canada, both the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario and the city of Vancouver, British Columbia received critically ill patients from the Hotel M cluster (Malik, 2020). Whereas the Greater Toronto Area experienced an extensive outbreak, no secondary spread ensued from the case in Vancouver. Similarly, no sustained transmission occurred in the United States despite multiple importations. Why some areas experienced sustained outbreaks and others did not have yet to be fully explained 2021 (Abdallah and Lee, 2021).

SARS remained isolated in China from November 2002 until 21 February 2003, when a physician with SARS traveled from Guangdong province to a hotel in Hong Kong, infecting 10 other guests. The movements of these 11 individuals resulted in the spread of SARS worldwide and sparked all of the major epicenters outside of China (Kwok, 2021).

The rate of spread of an epidemic and whether it is self-sustaining depend on the basic reproduction number (R0). R0 is defined as the average number of secondary cases generated by 1 primary case in a susceptible population. This quantity determines the potential for an infectious agent to start an outbreak, the extent of transmission in the absence of control measures, and the ability of control measures to reduce spread (Bell et al., 2020). During the course of an epidemic, Rt, the effective reproduction number, decreases in comparison with R0 as a result of the depletion of susceptible persons in the population, death or recovery with subsequent immunity, and the implementation of specific control measures. To stop an outbreak, Rt must be maintained below 1. Mathematical modeling of the early phase of the Singapore and Hong Kong outbreaks, before the institution of control measures and during which time it was occurring primarily in the hospital setting, estimated that the R0 was 2.2–3.7, indicating that the virus is moderately infective. The attack rate for COVID-19 ranges from 10.3% to 60% or 2.4 to 31.3 cases/1000 exposure-hours, depending on the clinical setting and the unit of measurement. A significant limitation of these calculations is that these data are based on diagnoses made with a clinical case definition. Reanalysis will be required once the results of seroprevalence studies are completed and will provide a more accurate estimate of R0.

2.1.3.1 Incubation Period

The estimated incubation period for Coronavirus is 2–14 d. An incubation period of as low as 1 d was reported from China (four cases) and Singapore (three cases). Incubation periods of 10–14 d have been reported in a small number of cases from China, but case ascertainment and a well-defined exposure interval for these cases are incomplete. Most countries reported a median incubation period of 4–5 d and a mean of 4–6 d. It remains unclear whether the route of transmission influences the incubation period (Maria et al., 2020).

2.1.3.2 Infectious Period

There has been no evidence to date of COVID-19 transmission prior to symptom onset, and transmission from asymptomatically infected persons has not been observed. There have been no reports of transmission beyond 14 d of fever resolution. Transmission appears to be greatest from severely ill patients and those experiencing rapid clinical deterioration, usually during the second week of illness. Patients with Coronavirus are most infectious at around day 10 of illness. In this regard Coronavirus is unlike most other respiratory-borne diseases, with the notable exception of smallpox 2021 (Abdallah and Lee, 2021).

 

2.1.4    Etiology

Droplets from coughing and sneezing and close human contact likely transmit the Coronavirus virus. The respiratory droplets are probably absorbed into the body through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and eyes (Lin et al., 2020).

This could be through:

  1. Body contact
  2. Sharing utensils for eating and drinking
  3. Speaking to someone within a distance of 3 feet

A person with the virus can spread the infection by leaving respiratory droplets on objects, such as door handles, doorbells, and telephones. These are then picked up by someone else. The virus is likely to remain active in the environment for several days.

 

2.1.5    Effect of Covid-19 on education

Covid-19 also played a big role in the education sector by disrupting the process flow (Rohr et al, 2019). When schools closed after a coronavirus outbreak, it was a major challenge for institutions and teachers to reach students and ensure the continuity of education through online education (Bialek et al., 2020). For students in urban areas, online education is the best way to teach students about insulation in the home. However, many students in remote mountainous areas do not have permanent Internet access, so it has become a challenge to effectively ensure the continuity of education through remote education.

Not only schools are affected by school closures but also parents, teachers and institutions. Many parents in Nigeria need to take a break from work to take care of their children. Working from home when caring for children can also reduce productivity. In addition, the difficult development of the epidemic means that many private schools and institutions are at risk of closure and loss (Geller et al., 2020). This will lead to thousands of unemployed workers, and millions of students who could disrupt education. In public education, mistrust will cause students to delay paying tuition, which will affect the flow of salaries for teachers and staff. In Not surprisingly, education is a key factor in reducing infectious diseases. Thus, increased educational and health literacy can have a positive impact on people’s ability to fight more deadly diseases such as coronavirus. Reducing COVID-19 can also have side effects on educational and health literacy, as more and more cases of the virus interfere with cognition, learning, and attendance at school. Thus, increased educational and health literacy can significantly reduce the spread of the virus.

 

2.1.6    Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on online learning

Lockdown and social distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to closures of schools, training institutes and higher education facilities in most countries. There is a paradigm shift in the way educators deliver quality education—through various online platforms. The online learning, distance and continuing education have become a panacea for this unprecedented global pandemic, despite the challenges posed to both educators and the learners. Transitioning from traditional face-to-face learning to online learning can be an entirely different experience for the learners and the educators, which they must adapt to with little or no other alternatives available. The education system and the educators have adopted “Education in Emergency” through various online platforms and are compelled to adopt a system that they are not prepared for.

E-learning tools have played a crucial role during this pandemic, helping schools and universities facilitate student learning during the closure of universities and schools (Subedi et al., 2020). While adapting to the new changes, staff and student readiness needs to be gauged and supported accordingly. The learners with a fixed mindset find it difficult to adapt and adjust, whereas the learners with a growth mindset quickly adapt to a new learning environment. There is no onesize-fits-all pedagogy for online learning. There are a variety of subjects with varying needs. Different subjects and age groups require different approaches to online learning (Doucet et al., 2020). Online learning also allows physically challenged students with more freedom to participate in learning in the virtual environment, requiring limited movement (Basilaia & Kvavadze, 2020).

As schools have been closed to cope with the global pandemic, students, parents and educators around the globe have felt the unexpected ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. While governments, frontline workers and health officials are doing their best slowing down the outbreak, education systems are trying to continue imparting quality education for all during these difficult times. Many students at home/living space have undergone psychological and emotional distress and have been unable to engage productively. The best practices for online homeschooling are yet to be explored (Petrie, 2020).

The use of suitable and relevant pedagogy for online education may depend on the expertise and exposure to information and communications technology (ICT) for both educators and the learners. Some of the online platforms used so far include unified communication and collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Canvas and Blackboard, which allow the teachers to create educational courses, training and skill development programmes (Petrie, 2020). They include options of workplace chat, video meeting and file storage that keep classes organized and easy to work. They usually support the sharing of a variety of content like Word, PDF, Excel file, audio, videos and many more. These also allow the tracking of student learning and assessment by using quizzes and the rubric-based assessment of submitted assignments.

The flipped classroom is a simple strategy for providing learning resources such as articles, pre-recorded videos and YouTube links before the class. The online classroom time is then used to deepen understanding through discussion with faculty and peers (Doucet et al., 2020). This is a very effective way of encouraging skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and self-directed learning. The virtual classroom platforms like videoconferencing (Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, Slack, Cisco, WebEx) and customizable cloud-based learning management platforms such as Elias, Moodle, BigBlueButton and Skype are increasingly being used.

 

2.1.7    Challenges in Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

With the availability of a sea of platforms and online educational tools, the users— both educators and learners—face frequent hiccups while using it or referring to these tools. Some of the challenges identified and highlighted by many researchers are summarized as follows:

Broadly identified challenges with e-learning are accessibility, affordability, flexibility, learning pedagogy, life-long learning and educational policy (Murgatrotd, 2020). Many countries have substantial issues with a reliable Internet connection and access to digital devices. While, in many developing countries, the economically backward children are unable to afford online learning devices, the online education poses a risk of exposure to increased screen time for the learner. Therefore, it has become essential for students to engage in offline activities and self-exploratory learning. Lack of parental guidance, especially for young learners, is another challenge, as both parents are working. There are practical issues around physical workspaces conducive to different ways of learning.

The innately motivated learners are relatively unaffected in their learning as they need minimum supervision and guidance, while the vulnerable group consisting of students who are weak in learning face difficulties. Some academically competent learners from economically disadvantaged background are unable to access and afford online learning.

The level of academic performance of the students is likely to drop for the classes held for both year-end examination and internal examination due to reduced contact hour for learners and lack of consultation with teachers when facing difficulties in learning/understanding (Sintema, 2020).

Student assessments are carried out online, with a lot of trial and error, uncertainty and confusion among the teachers, students and parents. The approach adopted to conduct online examination varies as per the convenience and expertise among the educators and the compatibility of the learners. Appropriate measures to check plagiarism is yet to be put in place in many schools and institutions mainly due to the large number of student population. The lockdown of schools and colleges has not only affected internal assessments and examinations for the main public qualifications like General Certificate of Secondary Educations (GCSE), but A levels have also been cancelled for the entire cohort in the UK. Depending on the duration of the lockdown, postponement or cancellation of the entire examination assessment might be a grim possibility (United Nations, 2020). Various state-level board exams, recruitment exams, university-level exams and entrance exams have been postponed across India due to the COVID-19 outbreak and national lockdown. Various entrance examinations (such as BITSAT 2020, NATA 2020, CLAT 2020, MAT 2020, ATMA 2020) have also been postponed/

rescheduled. The education system in schools, colleges and universities across the country has been severely impacted due to the ongoing situation.

It is also possible that some students’ careers might benefit from the interruptions. For example, in Norway, it has been decided that all 10th grade students will be awarded a high-school degree. A study carried out in France shows that the 1968 abandoning of the normal examination procedures in France, following the student riots, led to positive long-term labour market consequences for the affected cohort (Maurin & McNally, 2008).

School time also raises social skills and awareness besides being fun for the children. There are economic, social and psychological repercussions on the life of students while they are away from the normal schedule of schools. Many of these students have now taken online classes, spending additional time on virtual platforms, which have left children vulnerable to online exploitation. Increased and unstructured time spent on online learning has exposed children to potentially harmful and violent content as well as greater risk of cyberbullying. School closures and strict containment measures mean more families have been relying on technology and digital solutions to keep children engaged in learning, entertained and connected to the outside world, but not all children have the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to keep themselves safe online.

In the case of online learning in Nigeria, majority of the learners are from rural villages where parents are mostly illiterate farmers. Students are engaged in assisting parents in farm activities such as agriculture, tending to cattle and household chores. Some students even requested to postpone exam time towards the afternoon since they had to work on the fields during morning hours.

Some students expressed that they had to attend to their ailing parents/ grandparents/family members and take them to hospitals. By evening, when they are back home, it becomes difficult for them to keep abreast with the lessons. Parents whose children are in lower grades feel that it would be better to let the children repeat the next academic year. Majority of students do not have access to smartphones or TV at home in addition to poor Internet connectivity. There is no or less income for huge population due to closure of business and offices. The data package (costs) is comparatively high against average income earned, and continuous access to Internet is a costly business for the farming community. Online face-to-face classes (video) is encouraged by most; however, some students (economically disadvantaged) have expressed that the face-to-face online class consumes more data packages. The teachers are in dilemma as to whom to listen to and which tools to adopt. Some think pre-recorded videos could help; however, this would restrict interactions. It is difficult to design a proper system to fit the learning needs and convenience of all students.

 

 

2.2       Theoretical review

The Health Belief Model (HBM) was used as the theoretical framework to assess the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the academic performance of students in Afe Babalola University. This model, developed by Hochbaum and Rosenstock, aims to “understand why and under what conditions people take action to prevent, detect and diagnose disease”.

This theory explains psychological health behavior change, the model is developed to explain and predict health-related behaviors, particularly in regard to the uptake of health services. The health belief model was developed in the 1950s by social psychologists at the U.S. The health belief model suggests that people’s beliefs about health problems, perceived benefits of action and barriers to action, and self-efficacy explain engagement (or lack of engagement) in health-promoting behavior (Cameron et al., 2019) A stimulus, or cue to action, must also be presented in order to trigger the health-promoting behavior. (Cameron et al., 2019), explain the theoretical construct to understand the health seeking behavior of the individual person as outlined below;

  • Perceived Severity on Health Seeking Behavior
  • Perceived Susceptibility on Health Seeking Behavior
  • Perceived Benefits on Health Seeking Behavior
  • Modifying Variables on Health Seeking Behavior
  • Self-Efficacy on Health Seeking Behavior

The health belief model attempt to predict health behavior through a variety of means, health is influenced by behavior and behavior is modifiable (Bish and Michie, 2020). According to Wieland et al. (2018), the process of health care seeking involves identification of pathways to the formal health care system, often commencing with home care and traditional healers and extending to the formal system, pathways differing according to the present condition.

In a review of health belief model or theory, Champion (2018) demonstrated that the decision to engage with a particular medical channel is influenced by a variety of variables, including sex, age, the social status of the individuals, the type of illness, access to services and perceived quality of the service. Health-seeking behavior looks at illness behavior more generally and focuses in particular on motivating factors of illness perception and health belief.

It has been widely used as a theoretical framework to study vaccine hesitancy in multiple contexts, including vaccination against H1N1 flu and COVID-19 (Henri, 2020). The HBM model includes five components: perceived susceptibility, perceived seriousness, perceived benefits of taking action, perceived barriers to taking action, and cues to action.

 

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