COVID, To return to school or not?

COVID, To return to school or not?

The global pandemic Covid-19 has disrupted our worlds irrevocably.
More so for the children and young adults at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
The burning contentious question :  “Should our children be allowed to return to school?”

This is what an esteemed colleague posed to the South African President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa :

Dear President

Today I write this with a heavy heart. I could not believe that you just left the schools out of your speech. I want to tell you, I am a dad of a teenage girl. She is my life! I also heard you thank all the health workers, police etc, but you left out the teachers who are in the Frontline, please advise Why???

How do you say no family gatherings as the virus will spread and then you allow kids and teachers to go to school?. You also stated that this virus is airborne. Then WHY do you want kids at school?

Why is it so important for you to keep schools open, I would really like to know and why are you ignoring this topic?

You say THE STORM IS UPON US! Do you send your kids into the storm?

Mr President you do not care at all. I have lost faith in the government.
As for me I will not send my girl into the storm.

TN, 12th July 2020

Much has been said by the children and other scholars, many disgruntled over times and experiences lost in their young lives. Another disturbing, sobering fact? Children are fed meals at some schools. School is also the only socialisation outlet for some children. Sadly, there are those that are safer at school from the trauma of violence, abuse and extended family relationships.

Much has been said by the teachers who have posed very valid concerns.  Admittedly our children have become their children and they are apprehensive.

Last month in South Africa, when the children and teachers did return to school, the mandatory mask that also became a somewhat glamourous fashion accessory, was not worn.  Resorting to humour and a desperate need to educate the children, a teacher friend of mine used memes to reinforce the gravity of the situation.

 

Rosaliene Bacchus, a Mom like myself is relieved that her sons are out of school.  Thankfully, my children are young adults and out of the equation.  The younger son though, has put his part-time studies on hold in favour of more one-on-one tutoring interactions and safer learning practices. Had my children been in school. I would not have sent them to schools.

My logic?
Time can be re-gained but given this widespread virus, there would have been serious health challenges and devastating repercussions.  I would have reinforced concerted reading and learning in the safety of our home and the children would have been at a distinct advantage in the new year. Besides, most of the months have been eroded by the virus already, why cram more into the peak periods?

It would be very interesting and helpful to know your thoughts.
Would you send your children to school?

Image credit : jozikids.co.za

20 thoughts on “COVID, To return to school or not?

  1. There is SO much debate here about this. At the moment in our province September 8th is the first day of school with some going full time, some 50/50 and others remotely.

    It’s so tricky – I feel it’s potentially very risky. Most kids do OK but they can bring it home to family members who won’t do as well.

    There’s a lot of discussion here also about how it puts so much more burden on the less fortunate. If our son were still young and in school we could just keep him home and homeschool. Sage works from home. I can work from home most days and, in fact, we homeschooled him for the first 7 years.

    But many people working lower wage jobs can’t afford to stay home and so for them school also provides some necessary childcare.

    And another thing we’re seeing is wealthy people starting “Learning pods” – renting a small space, paying a teacher and getting together with other parents who may pay around $1,000/month each to create a safer space for their kids. This is great for them but for those who cant spare $1,000/month this creates a higher risk for those with lower income.

    I’m not sure the answer. I am upset that economists and business people seem to be dictating the public health policy in some ways – but at the same time I feel like if we don’t get business going we might have no money for public health or even basic needs.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of *very* well off people in the world. Perhaps it’s time for the 1% to step up.

    Like

    • I read about those learning pods.
      True Todd, that is not always a financially viable solution.
      I wont lie, it is tough here in SA.
      The streets have seen an influx of new beggars and my heart bleeds for them. Even the new young men.
      One man in his mask sells his plants on an island on the freeway, desperate times.
      I so wish I could help everyone but for now, I have to just try and feed the furry friends…
      I read that with the lack of food, pets are being stolen and used as food.
      I barely slept that night.
      😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my gosh – that sounds so awful. Our beggars are struggling here more and more. There are some opportunities for food (drop in meals, people making and donating sandwiches). But as people use and carry cash less there is less money given to them. And as much as it is not good to support a drug habit, desperation goes up and then crime increases. A few days ago I went inside a building to deliver veggies to some people in need and by the time I came out the small bag I keep on my bike had been picked through. Snacks were left in it but the tire pump, tube and tools were taken and likely will be sold for a fix.

        What a disturbing story about pets. That’s a really awful situation. I hope it improves there soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There are as many different approaches as there are options in the U.S. Some schools have fully opened, immediately had a cluster of cases, and then had to close. The school district where I live had a hybrid plan that would have involved each student physically going to school on two half-days a week. They recently changed and decided all classes will be remote until improvements can be made to the ventilation systems. My son goes to high school that is in building which is more than 100 years old. I was willing to let him go under the hybrid plan but am relieved that it will now be all online. He’s 16 and pretty conscientious. Might feel differently if I had younger children.

    Like

    • Rosaliene, I had been meaning to put this out there… Exchange ideas, and learn from each other.
      Then we spoke about this.
      My cousin sends her young kids to private school and they seem to be ok.
      My nephew is 16 and has taken the half year off. Government school it is and the protective gear supplied to teachers and students were of poor quality and watered down sanitiser.
      Social distancing was forgotten. It was a nightmare. He worried about bringing sickness to my 78 year old Mom. 🙈
      Your feedback is valued and your post from Loneliness to Love shareworthy. 🤗 https://wp.me/p1G4zq-1hN

      Liked by 1 person

  3. here in the Philippines, the classes are either going to be online, or modular… but the problem with online classes is that we never had reliable internet services, and many students don’t have the needed gadgets…

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  4. Schools here are set to open in September. Though, we have been fortunate in not having many cases in our province, and the virus was contained, I am still not in favor of sending my 10, 6, and 4 yr old grand children to school. I have reservations. Just because we were able to keep a check on the spread of the virus does not mean the virus isn’t around and still preying on susceptible hosts. They don’t go to private schools. I have my doubts on how distancing will be maintained. I have my doubts that the kids will be careful with their masks and keeping their hands sanitized and not touching their faces. They will be eating together… There are big worries and anxiety about kids going to school. I am not in favor of sending them yet. Thanks for bringing up this topic for discussion.

    Like

    • Joy, today is a very sobering day.
      A beautiful young lady, only 36, passed off Covid. Only her immediate family were allowed.
      Other family members decided to pay their respects from their cars along the road.
      Its good to have faith but we must not under-estimate this virus.
      … and take no chances, especially with our babies, big and small.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Children, Covid-19 & Classrooms: A 10-point Plan for Safe Schooling : | Sunshiny SA Site

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