Virtual learning helps families cope during pandemic
The public health crisis spurred by COVID-19 created additional challenges for families related to finances, mental health and relationships. Complying with social distancing and stay-at-home orders added to the stress.
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension agents working in family and consumer sciences teamed with technology support staff members to provide virtual learning opportunities to help families cope with these added burdens. Education in healthy recipe preparation, food safety, increasing physical activity, improving relationships, financial management and mental health self-care made nearly 320,000 impressions through direct training across various media.
The content – which included existing programs and new programs specific to COVID-19 – was also picked up by multiple newspaper outlets, public schools and chambers of commerce as part of their online education efforts, thereby deepening Extension’s recognition as a reliable, research-based source in Arkansas communities.
All of the nearly 88,000 people who participated in one or more programs confirmed that the virtual learning tools were effective, and 40% committed to implementing what they had learned. Participant comments ranged from appreciation for learning how to be more understanding when conflict arises to committing to social distance and wear masks in public.