Is it alright for schools to reopen now?
As in the country, schools have been shut down since March 2020 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemics, and a nation-wide lockdown was imposed till May end. However, private schools have conducted their examinations of the very academic session by promoting non-board standard students to the next level and conducting only board classes’ examinations with excellent safety measures.
Now, commencing the new academic session, many parents and students are in search of “when will school reopen”? Still, there is uncertainty regarding school openings. Following the havoc of the pandemic, it is quite a matter of serious contemplation that should school be reopened or not? The obvious question which comes instantly to mind is, would it be safe opening the schools? Would the children be safe from the pandemics? Likewise, numerous questions and concerns are there regarding school openings. On the other hand, parents and school stakeholders also seem concerned about the studies, syllabus, and for this academic year performance. This is quite puzzling what to do and what not to do?
In this state of dilemma, we just need not know but to comprehend as well what all is going about school reopening? What if schools are opened in such a pandemic situation? What would be the essentialities for reopening the schools in such a pandemic situation? What are the different viewpoints regarding schools reopening? Should schools be opened or not? Let’s explore every dimension regarding the same through this article. Hope you enjoy reading.
School As A Social Institution
A simple question to raise, why we all need to educate our children? Why do we need to send our children to schools? What does it mean to say schools as a ‘social institution’? Briefly saying, the core objective of education, which NCF (National Curriculum Framework) depicts, is to cultivate values such as ‘Scientific temperament,’ ‘Sensitivity,’ ‘Rationality,’ ‘Critical thinking, ‘ etc., so forth in the child consciousness. To help a child to sharpen her/his abilities and skills to the fullest, which would undoubtedly be helpful in dealing with their life in a meaningful manner which certainly leads to personal and societal well-being. This is why we need to send our children to schools, and schools are considered as social institutions.
When Will Schools Reopen? Political Scenario And The Timeline
Following the media reports, which says that the Indian Government is planning to open the schools from September? Still, there is uncertainty in the school reopening date. Some Indian states (like Meghalaya, Assam, Andhra-Pradesh, West Bengal, Goa) have come up with their plan, which is still open to discussion with stakeholders. These states are planning to reopen the schools in September. After taking public opinion, the Delhi state officials have declared that schools will not be opened unless the stakeholders are fully convinced. Other states highlight the pandemic situation, and no specific declaration is made so far by respective states regarding school reopening.
Being on the same page, CBSE has announced to reduce up to 30% course for 9 to 12 standards for the academic year 2020-21, and CBSE exams will be conducted according to it.
Other than this, in the name of online classes, schools are proceeding with this academic year.
Note: Centre and State Govt have decided to re-open the schools from 15 October 2020. For all related information on Unlock 5.0, please refer to the MHA Guidelines.
Academic Proceedings In Schools During A Pandemic: Online Teaching, Admissions, Examinations, Material Distribution
During COVID -19 pandemics, in schools, academic proceedings like new admissions, distributing resources like books and other relevant kit have been in progress. Consistent online teaching mode is running, and new admissions are getting in. CBSE and other boards have organized board standards examinations. CBSE is now planning to organize a compartment CBSE examination.
COVID-19 Pandemics: A Nationwide Lockdown And The Statistical Viewpoint
A nation-wide lockdown when was put into practice for the first time, the number of cases coming or detecting was far low as compared to current statistics. Then, the figure was limited up to 20,000 cases, but now the figures are worst as more than 50,000 cases are detecting in the span of 24 hours. The statistical figures are horrifying. How contradictory it seems like unlocking lockdown with the increasing number of Coronavirus cases.
The Worldwide Viewpoint: What WHO And Other Global Researches Suggest?
World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency responsible for international health, advised schools reopening that only if positive test rates remain below 5% for two weeks, a metric endorsed by many health officials.
Researchers at Harvard University have suggested a cutoff of 25 new cases in a span of 24 hours per 100,000 people.
The American Federation of Teachers has issued its own terms and conditions; a school should meet before reopening. It stated that daily average test rates should be below 5%, and with a transmission rate lower than 1%.
What If Schools Reopen? An Indian Context
Let think, what would be the scenario if schools are opened in the very present situations in special reference to India? As we are aware of the statistical figures of the COVID-19, the number of cases coming and getting increased day by day. The statistical figures are quite terrifying. The harsh and practical reality which needs to be taken very attentively is that, in a school, the students, teachers, and other schools staffs are coming from different sections of society, specifically in terms of locality. There would be an absolute possibility that among those many students or staff, either the person herself or someone in her family has the high possibility of getting infected by the COVID-19 virus, maybe due nature of work or locality. One cannot deny this possibility amidst such a pandemic situation. Then in due course of time, the transmission series may turn into a form of community transmission. Nothing is worst than reaching the stage of community transmission.
Secondly, Indian is a country having the second largest population in the world. In proportion to the population, the testing done for COVID-19 is low. The numbers of hospitals are also not more encouraging. Considering today’s scenario in Indian, around 70,000 to 80,000 cases are coming into detection only in 24 hours. Suppose if it takes a form of community transmission, then saying this would not be an exaggeration that then managing beds at hospitals for everyone would be a great challenge.
When Will Schools Reopen? The Essentialities Before Opening The School
Considering the nature of the pandemic and worldwide viewpoint, it is of enough clarity that reopening schools at the current situation are like offering an invitation to severe complications. Still, if one thinks of reopening the schools, then what would be essentialities that one must follow before reopening the school?
The very first thing is to follow all the guidelines suggested by different health advisory boards across the world. Secondly, make sure the testing capacity up to a mark. Thirdly, a tie-up with hospitals or doctors, should be there in order to observe and look after the suspects. This same team of doctors or hospitals should be a part of school as well. Like some successful models, a school also needs to follow the ‘Test-Trace & Treat’ series for the safety of children. Next, parents must contribute equally to schools in terms of safety. However, more couple of things in the name of essentialities may be listed, but all these efforts seem like a drop in a bucket.
From The Writer’s Account
Education is a fundamental right for every individual. It is a state’s responsibility to educate its citizen. Undoubtedly, education is an integral and crucial part of one’s life. It is fine, in life, there are certain things which are crucial, like education. Limiting education up to educational institutions is a narrow mindset. Learning is a life-long process. Learning is a dynamic phenomenon. An individual learns a lot beyond formal education. So coming this sense that if schools are not opening people are going to waste their one year. That is not the case, actually. There are innumerous things to explore. That very one year could be managed in any way. Though, it may be the school stakeholders’ responsibility to engage children meaningfully. But now it becomes more to parents, that now they push themselves and create a space where a child can engage herself in a creative manner.
No doubt, there are plural ways to learn and compensate for your academic loss and gain. But the thing which needs to be stated that livelihood comes before education and above all comes life. So stay calm, stay healthy & happy and most essentially stay safe.