Coronavirus: Attending school might actually be safer than staying at home

By RoeReRe

Image Credit: Ministry of Education, Singapore

Following the escalation of the Covid-19 crisis, schools have been regularly disinfecting their premises; some have even implemented 'wipe-down' exercises where students are provided with cleaning equipment to disinfect and clean up after themselves. Additional measures undertaken include holding regular temperature checking sessions (in the morning and before commencement of CCA sessions), practicing social distancing and suspending large scale events. External vendors invited to schools must also pursue apt hygiene practices and bring along their own sanitizers.

In short, attending school might therefore actually be safer than staying at home for a lot of households. (You may personally feel that your house is much safer. Perhaps, and I'll give you that. But you need to realize that this isn't the case for everyone.)

Other food for thought:

Assume the authorities went ahead with shutting schools completely. My question is: So how long should they do so? 2 weeks? 1 month? If you have tuned in to the Prime Minister's latest speech, he has already remarked it is possible for the situation to last up to a year.

E-learning is not as good as you made it out to be. First things first, not everyone is privileged enough to have adequate access to e-learning resources/equipment. Further arrangements need to be made, which slightly scuppers the original intention. Secondly, it is no walk in the park conducting e-learning from a teacher's point of view. Substantial planning is needed: How do I communicate the lesson content effectively, how do I check for student engagement (are the students really paying attention behind the screen), what medium should I use, and most importantly how can I assess their learning progress?

Teachers are already up to their necks trying to establish home-based learning (HBL) for students issued MCs to stay home for at least 5 days in the past few weeks. Now imagine extrapolating the effort involved several fold, ie having to cater to every single kid under his/her charge with no end in sight.

E-learning is the best solution we have now, but not the panacea in absolute terms.

Many details must still be pored over as far as closing down schools is concerned. Hence I am of the view that current protocols administered surrounding the severity of the current situation are apt.

Editor's Note: The above post follows the Ministry of Education's decision to reopen schools and kindergartens after the March holidays.


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