Many states are starting to make plans to reopen the schools, giving proper consideration to required perquisites, trying to come up with possible ways to inculcate a culture of distance learning, remote schooling or a balanced combination of the two.
|| Bhoomika Mohan
Emerging school life requires that schedules, accommodation arrangements, curriculum schedules and other items be very different from what was the case before the coronavirus epidemic forced many schools across the country (and the world) to close.
Schools across the country have pledged to focus on addressing students’ social and emotional needs as they return to school, at the same time prioritizing to put students back on track by recognizing the number of coronavirus epidemics.
But parents and teachers are still concerned that the epidemic could spark a new wave of discipline.
Schools are under increasing pressure to keep students and teachers safe, and some forms of misconduct can pose significant health risks. Removing the mask or deliberately coughing may spread the disease.
Young kids especially below the grade of 8, are most likely to not be able to understand the seriousness of wearing masks and taking precautions.
Seeing young children grabbing each other’s food at lunch, nudging and poking their bench mates while classes, hitting and showing affection through hugs and touches is not at all uncommon. But the new reality is harsh and unexplainable. Even public displays of affection in the primary school corridor can now be considered a security risk.
According to a recent study conducted by Chalkbeat, it’s likely that there will be an uptick in misbehavior. With their movement restricted, students will have fewer avenues to de-stress. Some students will be experiencing new or added trauma, which can cause students to act out.
Teachers, many of whom will be concerned about their own health, may certainly be at risk. In addition, Teachers will have fewer tools to conduct classes at their disposal. Conventional interventions like tap on the back or intimate gestures of affection are difficult now. And while some schools are still holding peace rehabilitation rallies, it is unclear how those will work in a visible or distant environment.
- Need for understanding at the receiving end-
One cannot determine whether a student wilfully spits, sneezes or coughs at someone else. In these stressful situations, it gets hard for the school management to find defaulters because there are personal limitations. It is new for the schools and hence, there is a lots of discretion in these decisions because there’s not clear guidance, and everyone is making things up for themselves as they go.
In many schools, taking children to school will be one of the most difficult challenges during the after-pandemic new normal life. Parents will be asked to consider whether they can arrange alternative routes, such as dropping their kids personally at school or arranging van pools.
- School temperature testing-
Another important factor for schools to consider will be that students who do not pass the test should be kept in solitary confinement while waiting for someone to pick them up, as the guidelines say. Doing so would require schools to give a re-touch on rooms assigned for the same. There will be a need to designate both safe indoor and outdoor areas to keep sick and infectious children whilst following the government guidelines of maintaining social distances.
In a conversation with TOI, Dr Guleria advocated hefty fines, he said “a problem governments face is that the virus has now spread to poorer areas and it doesn’t seem to have the capacity to enforce mask wearing. With people struggling to earn a livelihood, paying a fine is beyond the poor. So government must look at options like free distribution of masks in public places. Awareness campaigns are also sorely needed. Politicians posing in public without masks are not just big culprits in violating mask rules, they are a lost opportunity to drill the message into the public mindset.”
Speaking to a new york newspaper, Dr. Dahl admitted, “It’s going to be a big challenge,” given the natural desire of children and youth to work together, to compete, to tease, to flirt and to push boundaries. But young people have a strong sense of right and wrong, he said, and they have a passion for helping others, which can encourage them to accept rules that keep their friends and teachers healthy.
Sadly, failure to wear a mask will soon be considered a ‘violation of the dress code’ in schools, with growing consequences for repeated cases. But at the same time new truths must be embraced and nurtured for the great benefit of the nation.