What Preventive Measures Should The Schools Take While Reopening?
The major challenge for the schools would be to maintain proper physical distancing among the students.
The first couple of months of the COVID-19 pandemic caused absolute madness and mayhem. The infection became so dreaded that the entire country was put under lockdown for two whole months. To maintain the flow of education and give students a respite from the gloominess of the pandemic, the schools decided to switch to online education. And while that greatly helped continue education at a time when no other option was available, it must also be said that online education is no replacement for classroom teaching – at least with the level of technology available to us.
Also, a major drawback of online education is that the underprivileged students – who do not have an access to high-end technology such as smartphones, laptops, and high-speed internet – have suffered from the lack of education in their lives. Needless to say, this is a cause of concern.
Another important thing that we should take into account is that schools aren’t just for academics. There are many students who dream of carving out a career in sports. Without the facilities and the training that the schools provide, these students have fallen behind in the competition.
Taking all these points into consideration, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has allowed a phased reopening of schools and colleges from 21st September for classes 9 to 12 on a “voluntary basis”. At such a crucial time, the tantalizing questions that come to mind are “How would the schools ensure the safety and well-being of students and what challenges would they face?” Let’s take a look.
The major challenge for the schools would be to maintain proper physical distancing among the students. Students are spontaneous in nature, and in a moment of impulse, they might forget to follow proper physical distancing protocols. This, however, could be made a lot easier by talking with the students and concisely explaining to them the importance of physical distancing for ensuring each other’s safety. Also, the schools would have to make sure that a member of the staff is always keeping an eye over the students.
What safety precautions should the schools take?
There are a number of steps that the school authorities can take to ensure that the students stay safe from the COVID-19 infection. Let’s look at the process chronologically.
The safest way for the students to commute to and from school would be via private vehicles of their parents/guardians. Other modes of conveyance should be avoided for the time being.
Thermal scanners should be placed at all the entry points to ensure that any student or staff, who is showing signs of sickness, could be isolated and treated as quickly as possible.
The classes should be conducted in a staggered manner. This will mean that at a time, only a certain number of students would be present in the class. This would allow the school authorities to easily maintain proper physical distancing among the students and further reduce the chances of infection getting spread. Blended learning – with the help of webcams, speakers and microphones, supported by a strong network – would also play a major role in this, as the students can learn via a balanced combination of online and offline modes.
The schools should also consider investing in touchless sanitizer and water dispensers. Since the COVID-19 strain is notorious for spreading via surfaces, arranging touchless appliances could make a huge difference.
Amid all this, the most important thing to remember is that if the parents aren’t convinced, they don’t have to send their children to school. The schools are primarily being opened to give an option to the students, who otherwise have no means of accessing education.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
Around The World