Opinions

The Dilemma Surrounding Schools Re-opening

In this pandemic era, where large gatherings are restricted and to a certain point completely banned, we are now in a dilemma as to whether schools should be opening come last week of September. What are the ramifications of school opening normally versus not? In this article, we shall discuss these possible outcomes and why it is necessary to get this decision right from the
offset.


Educational value

Although digital technology has enabled the world to progress significantly, where lessons can be delivered virtually, there are several questions related to the educational value and whether online lessons can actually replace the traditional classes. Apart from eliminating the human contact aspect, there may be technical issues which can hinder the experience. This is also combined with the fact that teachers may have lesser control over the classroom and student participation. If a student is pretending to be online and is in fact engaged in other activities, how can the teacher know? Many argue that just because this process was applied over the past months as a crisis management strategy, it is not sustainable over the long-term.

Potential for COVID-19 spread

So let’s imagine, that students are once again back in the classrooms, together with their respective teachers. There needs to be an entire procedure which governs the way students practise social distancing to minimise the spread of this virus. This also needs to factor in how students take their breaks. During this pandemic era, the traditional breaks where students go out into a playground and interact so closely with each other seems to be out of the question. There is also another issue at hand here. In the case that a student or teacher tests positive, what quarantine and testing measures shall be put in place? If one teacher tests positive, will the entire class be put into quarantine? Does this also include those who may have had a potential exposure?

Together with these potential issues, following their school day, kids may be picked up by their grandparents, who may be placed in the vulnerable category. Since grandparents are normally exposed to younger kids considering that both parents may work, any potential wave of infections can spread like wildfire. With that said, in the midst of a fast approaching vaccine, could this be the ticket to avoid such potentially catastrophic scenarios?

Should entry to schools be delayed till at least some point in 2021? The expected measures for school operations are to be announced soon. Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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