words Alexa Wang
UK schools are just reopening, and all students should be back in classrooms by September according to government officials. According to Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield, the state must be in a position to keep schools open even in a second wave of the pandemic.
This is possible through taking necessary precautions such as regular testing of both teachers and pupils and informing the parents and the entire country of the status.
The current concerns of both politicians and education officials are that education has not been a priority at the moment. They have lamented that other sectors have now been long open except for the education sector.
Improving Government Strategies
Currently, the government has put forward many measures that need to be improved quickly for schools to reopen without any fears and to remain that way. To avoid a second wave of COVID-19 infection that can easily start in schools, the test, trace, and isolate strategy of the government has to run efficiently and smoothly. Other strategies include the following steps.
· Improve remote learning – Longfield acknowledges the importance of remote learning and the blended approach that will be used when children resume school. However, she is recommending the provision of laptops and 5G internet by the government to facilitate remote learning. This will ensure that children are in schools for a short time and that they can continue studying remotely at home.
· Addition of school structures – Currently, schools in the UK are required to have a class of not more than 15 students so that they can maintain a social distance of at least 1.5 meters. This means the addition of temporary classrooms and other learning structures. The government should make this a top priority. In fact, they should engage reputable temporary structure providers such as Smart Space since they have both modular and customized solutions for schools. School administration officials in the UK can see it here to discover all the solutions they can get from these experts.
· Prioritize hygiene facilities – Although the government has focused on the programs of learning, what schools need most is hygiene facilities such as handwashing areas and enough washrooms to ensure that children minimize interactions in these areas. On the other hand, teachers will be required to monitor students, especially younger children in nursery and primary schools. On the same note, teachers should have PPE on standby to handle any emergency case in schools such as isolating a child or a colleague who shows signs of coronavirus infection.
The Necessity of Prioritizing Education
The commissioner explained that children should not be an afterthought as has been the case at the moment. She pointed out that in case of any other lockdown, the schools should be the last to close doors and the first to reopen. This is possible if the government prioritizes education and puts all the resources together to do so.
Amid all these considerations, Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, has expressed his concerns saying that everyone should play their role well during the reopening of UK schools to avoid an outbreak. All other officials have agreed with this, and they look forward to medical and scientific guidelines to keep schools safe.