Maura Keary ’22
Since the start of this spring semester, junior Abbey Bass ’22 has spent her time volunteering as a virtual tutor for young students in Chicago. The program, CovEducation, is a new tutoring platform for students in grades K-12 who have been affected by COVID-19. Bass specifically works with a middle school in Chicago called Chicago Heights. She explained that there are also more general mentorship opportunities offered in which young students are paired with college mentors all across the country.
Bass was able to get involved with CovEducation after an application was advertised online regarding the possibility of becoming a tutor. Shortly after applying, Bass was offered the position and jumped right into action. The CovEducation x Chicago Heights program paired Bass with a sixth-grade student with whom she works for two days during the week, or more if requested.
The sessions run for 45 minutes each day and will run until the end of their school year in June. CovEducation matches mentors with the students based on interests and education needs. Due to the young age of Bass’ student pairing, she is able to help with virtually any school subject that the student needs help with.
Since Chicago Heights Middle School is currently following a hybrid learning model due to COVID-19, Bass connects with her student via the Zoom platform whether the child is studying at home or at school. Bass’s role, she explained, is to help the student with their studying habits and homework since they are not in a physical classroom space as they are used to. She helps with homework in all subjects, insight about life, creating relationships, or just providing a safe space for the student to talk or discuss any issues.
“I really enjoy working with kids especially since I used to be a camp counselor,” Bass explained. “I also love to tutor and share my knowledge, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to take advantage of. As a kid, I liked going to school and learning, and due to the pandemic, these students don’t get to have those same experiences.”
Bass said that she would consider this program a positive aspect that has emerged from the pandemic. She explained that without schools turning to remote or hybrid models, these students would not have been able to connect and meet with different people across the country. The students now have the chance to use the CovEducation mentors as an additional resource and ask questions about the world or what they are curious about in or outside of the classroom.
In addition to the tutoring sessions, Bass has also been able to meet and connect with other college students who are volunteering as well. Together, they are able to reflect on their experiences and share tips and advice over Zoom calls.
CovEducation is free to all students and the volunteer mentors are available to help in any capacity. Bass offered concluding thoughts on the organization, noting that she “wants to help them in whatever way that I can in order to make this time easier for them, whether it be tutoring or just being there as someone they can talk to.”