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No one’s coming through this pandemic unscathed, not least young people, but there are things we can do to make it easier on ourselves. Swiss Education Group is committed to not only keeping students safe and healthy, but happy, too
By now, we all know the drill. Keep our distance. Wash our hands. Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. It’s all so familiar, and yet, we still can’t shake that sense that we’re living in an alternate reality, or maybe a movie set. We’re used to it, but in many ways, we never will be.
According to the World Economic Forum, the unavoidable social conditions imposed on us by COVID-19 are not surprisingly having a negative impact on young people's sense of wellbeing. Recent studies conducted using data from EU member states, northern and western European countries, the UK, and the US have shown a marked increase in loneliness and mental health problems among young adults and even students. It’s a worry.
Still, Swiss Education Group has taken extraordinary precautions to keep everyone safe. Measures like frequent COVID testing, daily temperature checks for all staff and students, and quarantine requirements during the height of reported cases in Switzerland, are strictly followed at every school. All along, classes have continued online and, as soon as possible, resumed in person with tight safety protocols.
While steps to minimize the virus' risks have been effective, they’ve also been wearing on our wellbeing, so it’s been important to focus on students' psychological health. It’s critical to raise awareness about what people can do to enhance their mental and social wellbeing, like keeping active, safely connecting with others, and getting involved in meaningful challenges or causes.
Your surroundings also have a part to play. Fortunately, our campuses are located in some of the world's most beautiful alpine areas, with incredible outdoor activities, right on the doorstep. Seeing people may be more difficult, but a little bit of creativity can go a long way in making socially distanced socializing possible. Our students have been skiing, skating, hiking, you name it, all helping to ease loneliness and form friendships.
It’s critical to raise awareness about what people can do to enhance their mental and social wellbeing, like keeping active, safely connecting with others, and getting involved in meaningful challenges or causes.
And we have the data to back it up. Swiss Hotel Management School professor Dr. Erich Steinbock, who lectures in Leysin, conducted an extensive research study with students. The purpose, was to define specific emotional intelligence needs that contribute to students' perception of success. Convenience sampling, using online surveys, resulted in 372 valid responses from participants, who attended postgraduate programs at SHMS before and during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.
The data were collected using a digital survey tool that measured eight emotional intelligence skills as independent variables and four success factors as the dependent variables. Descriptive statistics, one-way between-subjects ANOVAs, and multiple regressions defined the resulting models.
Encouragingly, quality of life and wellbeing showed no significant difference amongst groups that attended SHMS before and during the two semesters in 2020. Thus, face-to-face teaching versus virtual learning, and other COVID-19-related issues did not affect how the students felt about their experience here.
The results clearly prove that we can adapt to ongoing challenges, and that genuine care and compassion for our students will continue to be central to our coping strategy here at Swiss Education Group.