Re-opening Schools – Crucial Decision

Posted on May 18, 2020  /  0 Comments

It is heartening to note that the decision to reopen schools on May 11th has been reconsidered positively. Exposing 4.3 million school children to a potential resurgence of the virus with no clear plan would have been dangerous, when we still haven’t had a straight 48-72 hours without a single Covid patient being reported. Sanitizing all schools effectively would need time and resources. Overcrowding of classrooms in urban/popular schools, inability to implement safe-distancing methods and lack of adequate facilities for hand-hygiene, are all reasons to consider before announcing re-opening. At a recent Webinar the Minister of Education explained some initiatives they were considering, like sanitization and opening schools on a staggered basis, to minimize overcrowding. He  also mentioned the costs the Govt would have to bear in that regard.

Certain countries where the pandemic operated in huge proportions are considering strategic, phased-out re-opening with all safe-guards in place. In Sri Lanka, in addition to utilizing our effective public health infrastructure, measures like minimal use of school vans, preventing overcrowding of the school, and implementing two-tiered systems where children can attend schools in two sessions (certain grades in the morning, and certain grades in the afternoon – giving priority to Advance Level students), should all be considered before decisions are made. And eventually moving towards a hybrid system of learning (using offline & online systems), so that during unexpected school closures students will not be without any form of education.


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