Safety depends on us when reopening schools amidst COVID-19


With the beginning of the nationwide school enrolment, the Union Government has taken steps to open schools on 21 July, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing measures, along with parents, teachers and students wearing face masks, and providing hand washing facilities at schools on school enrolment days, have proven that schools are ready to safely welcome students.
Children need to get back into schools, one way or another, for their educational and mental well-being. They can’t afford to wait in suspended animation for a vaccine that may not be available for years, if at all.
When it comes to reopening schools, primary, middle and high schools have been recommended to maintain COVID-19 guidelines. The return to school, as with other aspects of pre-pandemic normalcy, rests on our ability to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Screening temperature at the entrance, strict hygiene measures, scheduling students in split shifts and the limit for the number of students in a class are called key to preventing the coronavirus at schools. But, for safety of the students, teachers should set an example by wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining one-metre social distancing.
We decided to reopen our schools while others are checking the spread of the virus and also preparing to reopen schools. Why? The number of COVID-19 cases in our country is not large, compared with other countries.
Thanks to the united efforts of the people and authorities, we have been able to contain the spread of the virus and save lives.
Deciding to reopen schools is not an easy job. However, we believe schools should reopen for in-person instruction, as long as the community infection rate remains low, and schools follow appropriate social distancing guidelines.
Education of a country should not be stopped because children might lose their enthusiasm for education when they are away from classrooms for a long time. Long-term closures of classrooms would have negative impacts on education and being too hasty with a shortcut in teaching could not generate well-educated persons.
The educational, social, physical and emotional costs of keeping children at home far outweigh the risks of sending them to school.
Is it safe to reopen schools in this situation? That may depend on us.

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