A possible solution to the resumption of face-to-face classes

A possible solution to the resumption of face-to-face classes

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Recent news reports suggest that the return of children to school for face-to-face classes is being rolled out despite the coronavirus pandemic and the unknown effects it might have on the young population.

Although it has been widely circulated that the impact of COVID-19 might present little or no risk to their health, the veracity of that position is still in question considering that the long-term issues related to the disease are not yet established.

While the concern remains the health of young children with pre-existing health issues, another concern ought to be the potential spread from the children to their respective households and communities in the event that they become infected with the coronavirus while attending school.

I empathise with parents who have had considerable challenges with having their children remain at home, and adjusting to the 'new norm' is easier said than done. The strains of these parents include, but are not limited to:

(i) leaving children unsupervised at home to meet work obligations;

(ii) lack of resources such as computers, tablets, and/or smartphones; and

(iii) lack of Internet access and the money to facilitate virtual learning.

Being cognisant of the maturity of the different age groups, and their ability to comply with the social distancing rules, I am proposing the following approach in the event face-to-face classes are resumed:

Kindergarten: The present distance teaching methods should remain in place.

Primary level: Only grades 4 to grades 6 would return to school and the physical plant should be adjusted for the students to occupy all the classrooms, which would be fitted with television monitors to allow for teachers to teach from one classroom and transmit to the other classrooms.

The tablets that would have been given by the Government or private sector to students for grades 4 to grades 6 should be distributed to the children of grades one to grades three to allow for virtual learning at home.

Secondary level: Forms 1 to 3 would attend classes between 8:00 am to 11:00 am, with forms 5 to 6 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, which is essentially a shift system that allows for the aforementioned methodology of the conduct of classes at the primary schools. An alternative method could be that forms 1 to 3 and forms 4 to 6 could attend on alternate full school days.

The foregoing is not proposed as an absolute solution, and, of course, its adaptation would be subject to the particular circumstances of each school, but I believe it's the best we can do until there is a cure or a vaccine.

Herwin A Smart

Savanna-la-Mar

Westmoreland


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