Back to School during COVID-19 pandemic

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Few international schools in Thailand have been able to reopen campus since June 15 after three months of closure. “Back to School” for students has been the prospect of the government, as they declared the returning to campus in a reopening phase. The Thai Ministry of Education’s local schools is set for nationwide opening on July 1.

The arrival of a summer break has mostly brought schools across the country to a standstill and the focus of school leaders is now shifting to reopening schools for live instruction in the following academic year.

More countries have begun reopening schools for the past six weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic is being slowly controlled. Reopenings are typically only open to certain age groups often younger children and not necessarily in all areas of the country. They are generally followed by mandatory hygiene practices and social distance measures and tests and trace systems have been carried out in many places before reopening of schools.

Guidelines schools need to follow to reopen safely
Schools can not be reopened until new health and safety measures have been in place, and schools need to take several steps to ensure the safe reopening for students, staff, families and communities. School reopening plans include:

  • Deep Cleaning
    School campuses ought to be cleaned and disinfected properly. The CDC guidelines on adequate disinfectant and sanitation in schools and open spaces should be prepared to obey.
  • Face Masks
    Schools would have to include rules regarding the usage of face masks, like who will wear them and when for the whole day of school. All students and teachers must wear a mask, both on school buses and on campus except of course when eating and drinking.
  • Social Distancing
    Students would sit in a single row with the desks arranged ‘face to face’ in a classroom and be spaced apart during breaks and other class activity. Markings, like single-way structures, can allow children to establish social space around campus. Within a certain classroom, there would be fewer students and staff. Improvements will still need to be made on activities like performing arts and sporting events.
  • Temperature Checks
    Schools should ask parents to check the temperature of their child before they leave for school, and any individual who enters the campus should be checked at the school gate. Shoe disinfectant trays and hand sanitary sprays will also be provided at school gates. Schools will provide a way of monitoring symptoms of illness for students, teachers and staff. They also need a separate room for anyone who gets ill during the school day.
  • Well-being of students
    Schools need to educate students about the importance of washing hands and personal hygiene.
  • Reporting Confirmed Cases of Covid-19
    Schools should inform the government of whether any staff or students are confirmed or in close touch with an infected person to have Covid-19. Also, before being allowed back to campus, all students must submit a Travel and Health Declaration form.

A vital aspect of reopening schools is water and hygiene facilities. Admins must find ways to improve hygiene practices such as handwashing, respiratory etiquette, (i.e. coughing and sneezing into the elbow), physical distancing measures, facility cleaning and healthy food preparation practices. Teachers and administrative personnel also need to be trained in physical distance and hygiene practices at school.

Some students with high-risk medical problems will still have to continue distance learning despite these protection measures in motion. Schools should also prepare again if there are new waves of COVID-19 infections, and switch to distant learning.

Things to consider:

What if the child has fallen behind?
Students around the world have shown just how much they want to keep learning. They have been persistent in their lessons with the support of their dedicated teachers and parents under difficult circumstances. However, when schools reopen, many children will need additional assistance in order to catch up.

Many schools are considering taking lessons to help students return to their own pace. This might include starting the year with a refresher or remedial courses, after-school programmes or supplemental assignments to be done at home. Since many schools may not be open to all grades or at full time, schools can use blended learning models, mixed school education and remote education (self-study through take-home exercises, radio, TV or online learning).

Give your child additional assistance in your home by generating a routine around school and schoolwork. If they’re restless and have problems to focus, this can help.

Simply notify the teacher or school of your child to ask questions and stay informed. Make sure they know your child is experiencing particular challenges, such as a concern over family loss or heightened anxiety prior to the pandemic.

What if the child struggles to return to “school mode?”
Note that your child is coping differently with the tension of the on-going crisis. Create a supportive and nurturing environment and answer questions and feelings positively. Show compassion and let your child realize that at times like these, it is not only all right but normal to feel upset or anxious.

Help your children stick to their routines and make learning enjoyable by incorporating it in everyday things such as cooking, reading family time or games. Another solution may be to enter a parent/community network in a connection with other parents who exchange ideas and gain help from the same experience.

Take Note!
Schools will be reopened as quickly as possible thus keeping families safe. Success at school is related to the safety and welfare of a student. Falling behind can influence the progress of a student.

However, returning to school will probably not mean returning to normal – for some time at least, but schools have and will start planning to open doors again and take measures to ensure the safety of students, staff and families.

Did you find this article helpful?  AllEduGuide keeps you informed and up-to-date with school activities during COVID-19, also, if you’re searching for good schools for your kids during this time, check out our international schoolKindergarten and private school listings.