17 pandemic innovations that are here to stay

Background: For a couple of decade, robotic corporations have tried to popularize the usage of cellular robots that journey on the sidewalk on the velocity of a jogging pedestrian, primarily to ship meals from eating places to residential prospects.(*17*) The know-how, nevertheless, failed to catch on due to a small supply market and wariness of robotic interactions — till the pandemic hit.

What modified in the course of the pandemic:(*17*) When Covid-19 first hit and folks had been nonetheless not sure of how the virus was transmitted, demand for socially distanced companies sky-rocketed. As supply companies turned notably well-liked — the market doubled during the pandemic — the potential of a very contactless transaction by way of robots drew the eye of small enterprise house owners like Ji Hye Kim, founding father of Miss Kim, a restaurant that used robotic supply in Ann Arbor, Mich. “We had been advised to stay at house and social distance. So simply this concept that we had been coping with fewer human contact turned abruptly very enticing,” she mentioned. Since then, the know-how has seen a drastic surge in reputation. Starship Applied sciences, one of many early pioneers of supply robots pre-pandemic, now deploys over 1,000 robots throughout the nation, which is sort of quadruple the quantity they began off with earlier than the pandemic, and accomplishes about 10,000 deliveries a day. The one problem the corporate is dealing with is manufacturing robots quick sufficient to meet demand, in accordance to Ryan Tuohy, Starship’s senior vp of enterprise growth and gross sales.

Why it can stick: Robotic corporations consider robots are the way forward for supply companies as a result of they are much more environment friendly than vehicles, mentioned Ali Kashani, CEO of Serve Robotics: “Two-pound burritos are being moved in 2-ton vehicles. That doesn’t make a variety of sense,” he mentioned. Since robots are smaller and use much less gasoline, they are a extra sustainable and economical possibility in contrast to vehicles. “I believe that there is a very pleasant and enjoyable future by which robots assist us maybe reshape our cities into rather more greener and extra pedestrian and human-friendly environments,” Kashani mentioned. — Catherine Kim


Elective school exams

Background: Establishments of upper studying have lengthy required candidates to submit standardized check scores, believing that efficiency on the SAT or ACT was a dependable indicator of first-year school success. Critics had lengthy argued that the exams deprived college students of coloration and first-generation school college students.

What modified in the course of the pandemic: The testing corporations had to cancel the exams within the spring of 2020 because it was abruptly harmful for college kids to sit collectively in testing websites to take the exams. Because of this, a whole lot of faculties and universities throughout the nation that had beforehand required the exams briefly adopted a test-optional admissions coverage. Only one.5 million college students in the highschool class of 2021 took the SAT, down from 2.2 million within the class of 2020. The ACT noticed a 22 % drop in check takers.

Why it can stick: Many schools and universities discovered that the test-optional insurance policies contributed to will increase in purposes from college students of coloration and first-generation school college students, notably to extremely selective schools, suggesting that ACT and SAT scores had been a barrier that prevented them from even making use of. A number of establishments, together with New York College, reported boosts of tens of hundreds of purposes for first-year undergraduate admission. Now many schools, together with the elite College of California system, have eradicated their SAT and ACT mandates. — Bianca Quilantan

Direct money help

Background: For many years, the thought of giving Individuals authorities advantages within the type of money has been considerably frowned upon. As a substitute, lawmakers on either side of the aisle have typically most well-liked to present authorities help in type, like meals stamps or well being care protection. The overall concern was that recipients would misspend money.

What modified in the course of the pandemic: When the financial system shut down in spring 2020, Congress moved to hold the financial system afloat by doling out unprecedented ranges of direct money help to hundreds of thousands of Individuals within the type of stimulus checks that recipients might spend nevertheless they wanted. A 12 months into the pandemic, lawmakers authorized baby tax credit score funds, giving households with youngsters historic ranges of assist. That cash helped hold meals insecurity from going up whilst the underside fell out of the financial system. And monitoring by the U.S. Census bureau indicated that the advantages tended to pay for the issues that lawmakers needed them to pay for, notably meals and different family wants.

Why it can stick: Whether or not baby tax credit might be prolonged stays to be seen. Throughout the subsequent large disaster, nevertheless, possibilities are good that Congress will once more flip to direct assist, which is way faster and simpler to administer than in-kind advantages. The financial system has bounced again rather more rapidly than most anticipated, and the money from Washington is credited for a lot of that. — Helena Bottemiller Evich

On-line schooling

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