Covid-19 And Education: Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Reopening Schools

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Since the Covid-19 virus was declared a pandemic, in-person learning has been seen as a health risk. Schools in the United States have reopened and closed again more than two times. In October, more than 56 million school-age children resumed education in the United States. At the time, parents were skeptical about allowing their children to return to school since the number of daily infections was still on the rise. While some parents were confident that there would be enough preventive measures to protect their kids from getting infected in school, many others weren’t. Since you’re reading this, you’re probably among those who were skeptical about the resumption of in-person classes. 

Pros of Reopening Schools 

1. Socialization can Finally Resume 

One of the most obvious consequences of school closures is the lack of face-to-face socialization among peers. Older students had the privilege of maintaining daily contact with their friends through social media while younger ones couldn’t. This is because most social networks don’t let people who are younger than 14 sign up and use their services. This led to a feeling of isolation among younger learners and older learners who don’t like to use social networks. Schools are still going to encourage learners to practice social distancing in the classroom and during lunch. However, seeing their peers and being able to interact with them affords them a level of satisfaction. 

2. Students Will Have Access to Facilities 

Thanks to technology, some schools were able to simulate practicals with augmented and virtual reality. However, these emerging technologies can only go so far. With the resumption of schools, students will have access to labs, gyms, and other facilities that promote hands-on learning. They can carry out laboratory experiments with their friends while receiving much-needed instructions from their teachers. Students with an interest in sciences will benefit the most from this. Some schools have also resumed controlled road trips for their students while others have decided not to go anywhere until things get better. 

3. Students Can Continue to Apply Their Computer Skills 

One of the benefits of online learning is that it allowed many students to improve their computer skills and use modern technology to enhance their knowledge and skill. This doesn’t need to stop now that schools have reopened. Students have already become accustomed to using tech for education. Schools with funding can offer them the right interactive tools they need to excel while teachers will provide the much-needed face-to-face guidance to students. There are many web development projects in the works to support teaching. 

Cons of Reopening Schools 

1. A Little Too Much Socialization 

Controlling interaction in schools might not be as easy as it sounds. There are way more students than instructors and other non-academic staff. So, it’s unrealistic to control how these students interact throughout the day. Checking temperatures, insisting on facemasks, and encouraging students to wash their hands before they enter the school reduces the chances of infection significantly but it doesn’t eliminate it. There is still a chance, no matter how small, that some students with the virus might get in and spread it to others. There is no way to be 100% sure that your children will be safe. 

2. Students Might Subconsciously Put Themselves in Harms Way 

Millions of students were cooped up with their parents at home for months. Allowing them to go back to school gives them a taste of the much-needed freedom but at what price? Some of these students don’t have the best relationships with their parents and might not be in a rush to go back home after school. Let’s assume that the school is entirely safe and corona-free: what about the after school destination? What guarantee do parents have that children will protect themselves when they leave school? If the road to their after-school destination is safe, what about the road to the said destination? There are too many things that could go wrong without adult supervision. 

Conclusion 

Shutting schools down was never meant to be a long-term solution to the global health crisis. Most ministries hoped that they would be able to get the education industry up and running after a single month lockdown. Unfortunately, the lockdown was extended. Reopening schools was inevitable and parents need to do what they can to protect their children from the Covid-19 pandemic. If you’re still not comfortable sending your kids to school, you can enroll them in an efficient homeschooling program.

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