The unprecedented shutting down of schools because of the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, has had a revolutionary impact on education. In United States, about 124,000 schools were closed affecting an approximate of 55 million students. Scientists are yet to find the solution to the problem which means that this situation is going to have a prolonged effect on our day to day activities. Hence, many countries have now began uplifting the ban and are steadily returning to normal operations, which has left the parents wondering whether schools too are going to resume.
Reopening of schools is a serious matter. Common trends across reopening plans from prominent education, government and health organizations suggest doing so may be easier said than done. Parents and others weighing covid-19′s risk to children and the adults they may infect, directly or indirectly, should consider emerging evidence that suggests children are not significant transmitters of covid-19. These data, coupled with the enormous adverse impacts of continuing closures, argue for reopening schools by fall. Reportedly, 360,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide amongst which only 12-15 children were known to have died. The decision tree is relatively general and leaves much in the hands of state and local leaders, when compared to recovery plans and frameworks released by other organizations.
Even if schools consider the idea of reopening in fall, it will be a strenuous task to have all students abide by the rules of handwashing and sanitizing. Children will not be as cautious as needed with reference social distancing or other precautionary measures which leaves a high-risk factor in the picture. We are all aware, that school life post-covid will be a lot different than pre covid. With the increase in rules and limitations on freedom, children may not enjoy the environment of school once it reopens.
Social distancing will be a grave concern. Although, schools may apply strict rules with regards to distancing, it will be a very difficult task to maintain the same. For example, visualizing a queue in the hallway with 6-7 meters distance between each student is not really an ideal idea of a school environment. This may also affect communication with peers and other group activities, which is a vital part of school. The older students might abide by the rules however the kindergarten students will be a handful. Restricting this group from hugging or touching each other will pose a challenge. Wearing masks all the time is a challenge by itself. Imposing rules of wearing a mask on children will be like taking away their freedom to talk, express or interact.
Limiting the number of students in the bus will lead to increase in number of drivers which will hamper the cost and create shortage of drivers nationwide. It is not only the cost that matters, it is also the resources. This may also result in hiring new drivers who are pre-affected by the virus increasing the risk.
Indeed, school life is not going to be the same for a long time. However, we hope that this situation is curbed soon and life gets back to normal before children miss out on some amazing years of their life.