Its official – the Government has announced that schools can reopen. As a parent, I received this news with mixed feelings. The part of me longing for normalcy is excited while my analytical side is worried that schools might not be safe enough for my kids to go back. And I have reasons to be worried. My kids have not perfected the act of social distancing. For example, when they see a favorite Aunty they want to hug them and they don’t keep their masks on for up to 30mins. How does the school intend to keep my child safe post Covid if as a parent I am struggling to keep them safe.
I honestly think you need to get satisfactory answers to the following three (3) questions from your child’s school before you decide to send your kids back to school.
Question 1: What safety protocols have they put in place?
We know how the school has implemented the Government’s general guidelines as it relates to social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and disinfecting the school, etc. On a practical level, how does the school intend to make this happen? From school bus to school drop off/picks, classroom arrangement, break times, extracurricular, school lunch, etc. How do they realistically intend to keep the kids masks on for more than 1 hour (especially if your kids are under 12 years old) and achieve social distancing from 8am to 2pm? How do they intend to ensure children don’t swap their face masks with their friends?
Question 2: How do they intend to assess and bridge the learning gaps?
Let’s be honest, we are not sure what our children really learnt in the last few months. Not all children were able to keep up with/learn effectively with online/distance learning. Some schools were not able to complete the normal curriculum or do all the subjects. Where exactly is the new term starting from?
And where there are obvious learning gaps, what is the clear plan to address it before rushing into a new term/academic year?
Question 3: What are their plans to minimize disruptions should they be forced to close again?
Looking at other countries that reopened schools earlier, several of them had to close schools again. What plans are the school putting in place to enable them quickly react to the strong possibility while minimizing disruption to school? What if there is a Covid outbreak in the school? What are the plans to keep the children safe and minimize disruptions to school term?
There are a number of reopening models available to schools – A normal school day; coming to class in either a morning or afternoon shift; going to school on alternate days; a 100 per cent distance-learning; and a mix of in-person and online classes.
I strongly believe it is not a case of one size fits all. Each school needs to have extensive deliberations with their parents to arrive at the model that would work best for them while ensuring the safety of the children.
Titi Adewusi is Co-Founder, 9ijakidsS; an EdTech company – a fun learning company. that has developed over 250 educational fun interactive games to help children ages 3-13 years understand and retain knowledge as well as excel in school. She is mother to two boys 9 and 12 years and is always looking for fun places to take her children. She believes children learn best through play.
Email: [email protected] Instagram: @titilopeadewusi LinkedIn: titilopeadewusi