Tag: COVID-19 Health Crisis

Why Schools Cannot Join the Reopening Bandwagon

Although some states have already reopened, gradually allowing businesses to open, communities won’t be seeing K12 schools, colleges or universities reopening soon.

Globally, the public health threat is still not over and if there is one country that has yet to show improvement is the United States. As of May 12,2020 the latest U.S. tally shows that 17,776 additional cases have been added to the 1.38M active COVID-19 cases, while the death toll of 81,491 has increased by 836. The number of recoveries of about 220k has not changed.

Simply stated, the COVID-19 pandemic still poses as a grave threat and enclosing students in classrooms does not present an ideal scenario in which safe distancing measures can be practiced. In New York and California, the hardest hit states also have the largest school districts in the cities of NY and Los Angeles, their respective governors have announced that educational institutions will stay closed for the rest of the year.

School Reopening Requires Careful Planning

Since safe distancing of at least 6 feet apart must still be observed, the number of students in each classroom will be reduced by at least 50%. That being the case, it is likely that physical attendance will be on a staggered basis, combined with the use of technology for remote learning.

On the part of educators, there will be extra effort needed as discussions for subject topics will be conducted twice since they will be holding lectures for smaller groups. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, most schools have been experiencing a shortage of teachers. The situation is not likely to improve if teachers are also faced with additional problems, including child care.

Another matter that needs workable solutions are students who do not have access to Internet services or for that matter, are staying in shelters and other public housing facilities. The matter of giving schools the funding they need may have answers via the CARES Act, but in both public and private, will the funds be enough to sustain the schools? Education budget cuts have been common, more so now that the coffers of most states have been depleted.

Funding is also needed in providing students with protective masks as well as in making sure that every school has a quick-response team who are properly trained and equipped for COVID-19 responses; including monitoring and contact-tracing of potentially infected students and faculty members.

Simply stated, the COVID-19 pandemic still poses as a grave threat and enclosing students in classrooms does not present an ideal scenario in which safe distancing measures can be practiced. In New York and California, the hardest hit states also have the largest school districts in the cities of NY and Los Angeles, their respective governors have announced that educational institutions will stay closed for the rest of the year.

School Reopening Requires Careful Planning

Since safe distancing of at least 6 feet apart must still be observed, the number of students in each classroom will be reduced by at least 50%. That being the case, it is likely that physical attendance will be on a staggered basis, combined with the use of technology for remote learning.

On the part of educators, there will be extra effort needed as discussions for subject topics will be conducted twice since they will be holding lectures for smaller groups. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, most schools have been experiencing a shortage of teachers. The situation is not likely to improve if teachers are also faced with additional problems, including child care.

Another matter that needs workable solutions are students who do not have access to Internet services or for that matter, are staying in shelters and other public housing facilities. The matter of giving schools the funding they need may have answers via the CARES Act, but in both public and private, will the funds be enough to sustain the schools? Education budget cuts have been common, more so now that the coffers of most states have been depleted.

 

Funding is also needed in providing students with protective masks as well as in making sure that every school has a quick-response team who are properly trained and equipped for COVID-19 responses; including monitoring and contact-tracing of potentially infected students and faculty members.