Reopening educational institutionsby Monarose Sheila Pereira November 30 2020, 4:00 pm Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 40 secs
Professionals from the educational field talk to Monarose Sheila Pereira and discuss their views.
Opening up of the lockdown led to many people worrying about educational institutes reopening.
Headmistress Supari Tank Municipal English School
Given the nature of the COVID situation it is in everybody's best interest to not reopen schools for the time being until the environment is in safer tides. I believe that no matter how far technology progresses, nothing can replace classroom learning. It is another experience in itself where the face-to-face interaction of the teacher with students ensures monitoring, fewer distractions and rapt attention. Group activities are vital to boost team-building spirit and learning and virtual groups just don’t compare to the real experience where students also get to bond with each other. The current situation is a result of the need of the hour, as we are focusing on safety first.
Honestly in my view, I am positively looking forward to the opening of schools all over and am in favor for getting back to the “old normal” as sometimes the “new normal” just sounds good and isn’t one. As for the Educational institutions, rather than worrying about schools re-opening, they should work on healthy ways of how to fight this crisis and also make students a part of this fight so that they learn and become contributors in the fight. They need to be taught advanced hygiene required in today’s time and reinforce that if not practiced can do a great harm to them, their classmates and even their parents at home. They need to understand that team spirit is very important but also have to learn to keep the team healthy by keeping distance as required. Relationship with masks pretty much seems to be for a long term so children should practice the same.
Coordinator and Lecturer, Department of M.A. Psychology, RD and SH National College
Schools reopening during the pandemic have been a much-debated concern. Research studies suggest that children may play a larger role in community spread of Coronavirus than previously thought, triggering concerns of the drastic increase in the cases if the schools reopen. Apart from the possible spike in the COVID cases, it may also impact children’s mental and emotional health as they may find it difficult to adjust and abide by all the necessary precautions at such a time. Readjusting and adapting to the new normal might be quite a task for a child. The same must be addressed with empathy and measures that foster building a child’s resilience to the new normal.
Assistant Professor SIES
Reopening hassles and resuming concerns are heart pricking and causing uninvited apprehensions in the minds of teachers for both students and parents correspondingly. Probably, the standard operating procedures give rise to new teething challenges, which is forecasted by teachers; for instance, regular exposure to a crowded environment on account of students and teachers travelling.
Moreover meeting alternatively and getting tested frequently shall invite uncalled physical distresses in turn. Students attending classes without tiffin break will seed adverse feelings.
Majorly, the transportation question arises, as earlier flexibility in mode of travel was observed. Nonetheless, recommending cycling and avoiding crowded buses will not overcome the insecurities on the road or on trains. Feasibility of the sops needs to be well thought out.
Journalist and student
With the COVID surge taking a downward trend, people and the government have started to get more complacent with each passing day. India is not the first country to ponder over reopening schools, a couple of months back, countries like France and the U.S tried to do the same and saw the adverse effect. India should learn from these countries and continue with the online process for now. However, we still need to figure out a more democratic medium if we want the entire nation to be on the same page.
Retired Primary HM. Sree Narayana Guru High School
Studies show that children are less susceptible to severe COVID-19 as compared to adults but if infected they can become asymptomatic carriers of the disease. In spite of the closing of schools, children have contacted the infection. Children do not have a great immune response with them. Public transport or bus stands are a great risk too. Teachers will not be able to keep a strict eye on the number of students in a class. Children will invariably end up intermingling and sharing snacks/lunch. Children cannot be expected to stay at a distance of 6 feet from others throughout the day. We cannot expect students to self-police. We cannot expect children to wear masks for long durations at school.
The reopening of schools after a long break, in order to get the students familiarized with the regular pattern of study and examination preparation, specially for grade 10 is fair but a risky call. Since students will be coming from different places and using different means of transport, there is high-risk involved, with regards to spreading the virus. Another thing in question is, whether the schools have that kind of infrastructure to support social distancing. Calling only the 10th graders for laboratory work seems to be feasible. Strictly following the standard operation procedures given by the government, getting parental consent and handling children with such strict rules amidst such a pandemic is a huge challenge to education systems. The safest bet however is online education, as it facilitates learning with complete safety.