The quarantine period has everyone stuck at home all day long. Schools, offices, and events were closed down to avoid the spread of the virus. However, as time passes by, people will slowly return to their normal lives. Therefore, people are advised to be familiar with safety measures when they are in public areas. Just recently, President Donald Trump ordered the reopening of schools during the fall. The action of the president has sparked debate on whether opening schools is the right action to take, or it will have negative consequences in the future.
Thoughts of experts on school reopening.
While parents and teachers are scared that reopening of schools is not a proper action during the coronavirus pandemic, health experts support the decision of President Donald Trump. Health experts claim that with the appropriate precaution measures in place to stop the spread of the virus, students can go back to school. Doctor Fauci supports school reopening by claiming that students are not benefiting by staying at home.
On the other hand, teachers and parents are against the idea of reopening schools. Parents are against the reopening because they are worried about the health safety of their kids. Furthermore, students living with the elderly and infant siblings are at risk of spreading the virus to the family.
Measures to be adopted during school reopening.
Experts have come up with several measures that can be put in place when schools reopen to ensure that students are protected. They also suggest that different states should adopt measures that are unique to the number of infection cases reported in the state. States with higher infections are more likely to have stricter measures than those with fewer cases.
Some of the safety measures include:
- Maintaining social distancing in classrooms.
Since coronavirus requires social distancing, students are to sit six feet apart in the classroom to ensure social distancing is maintained. The classrooms should also receive appropriate ventilation by ensuring all windows are opened. For smaller classrooms, experts suggested using places of worship as classrooms since they offer bigger spaces. Teachers are also advised to take learning outdoors if the weather permits. School trips and any activities that will involve students leaving the classroom are to be banned since social distancing will be difficult to observe during such periods. Schools should also limit visitors to the school, only essential visitors can be allowed, but they should also maintain social distancing. Systems can be installed to monitor traffic in the hallways and the cafeteria.
- Wearing masks.
With many students hardly leaving the house, they have not become used to wearing masks. Experts have given parents the responsibility of training their children on how to wear masks and have it on for the entire period they are outside. They are also to start training their kids on the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the virus. Parents should let their kids try out different types of masks in terms of material and design to determine which is more comfortable for them. For students that will be using cloth face masks, experts recommend having extra masks at hand.
- Having a system that notifies any infection cases.
A screening protocol can be adopted that will ensure every student is screened for the disease periodically. In case an infection is identified, the students should be notified immediately using a system in place. Guidelines on the actions to take in case a student is infected should also be available to minimize panic that could hinder social distancing protocols.
- Teachers to ensure students adhere to the safety measures.
Teachers and staff will have an additional responsibility of ensuring that students observe social distancing and wear masks at all times. Schools might need financial support to increase the number of staff with this responsibility since few teachers and staff alone will not be able to carry out the task effectively. The financial aid will also be invested in proper protective gear for both the teachers and maintenance staff.
- Parents should have stricter safety measures at home.
Parents should also screen their children when they get home and ensure they sanitize correctly to avoid any risk of the disease spreading to the family.
- Schools should hire nutritional and health service providers.
Nutritional advisors will ensure students are provided with appropriate meals to boost their immunity within school grounds.
- Isolation of any staff with a pre-existing health condition.
Although the reopening of schools is currently underway, not all schools might be able to open. According to health experts, elementary schools are likely to open compared to middle and high schools. This is because children pose a low risk of transmitting the disease compared to older people. Furthermore, the spreading of the disease among children is less likely. Children are also less likely to suffer complications of the disease, such as respiratory system failure. Experts use the statistics of some Canadian provinces, which opened schools, to show proof that it is safer for elementary schools to open. According to the statistics, there are no deaths of children that Canada has reported since the reopening of schools. High school students will have online learning classes until solid solutions for their reopening is determined.
However, some experts argue that it might be difficult for students to keep windows open and sit six feet apart during the winter. They also suggested that students whose parents need them to learn at home should be allowed to do so.