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Post Lockdown Schooling: How Much Are We Prepared?
By Ritu Jamal

Schooling May No More Be Same Once We Open Up After Covid 19

Now that most of us have reconciled with the fact that the corona virus is here to stay for a considerable period of time we do not have an option but to reset our working and life style pattern till a cure is found. One of the biggest overhaul we would need is in the pattern of schooling in the post Covid 19 world. Living with Corona may become a new normal but the ‘new normal’ for schooling will have many challenges.

The way we commute from our homes to workplace, traditional workplace ethics, all has to undergo a massive overhaul. Let us be very clear that this will be in addition to the added burden of running the home front which has become extremely tedious with compulsory and thorough daily washing, sanitizing and cleaning of everything that enters the house. With no maids, baby sitters and drivers the situation becomes worse.

New protocols brings newer challanges

Being a teacher of a village government school, I am deeply concerned about my wards. Most of them will never be able to access a touch-screen mobile or if they do happen to get to use one, connectivity issues are preventing them from attending daily online lessons which would have hampered their learning drastically and negated the years of efforts put up by us by the time face to face teaching restarts.

After the lockdown opens up for our children, we will have to begin with this handicap as against well placed children. Anyway the first to bid goodbye to, would be the morning and the dispersal assemblies even if all children compulsorily wear masks.

Classrooms will not be able to hold more than 15 children to effectively maintain physical distance. This implies that the infrastructure of our schools are not built to hold large number of children under the new requirements. Entry of adults other than teachers has to be stopped, meaning face to face interaction with guardians will not be possible.

The distribution of mid-day meal is going to be a huge challenge. Feeding hot cooked food to our kids in the school seems near impossible. Even if they were fed in small batches while maintaining strict hygiene and sanitation, it would take up several hours of school time and the initial intention of serving hot nutritious food stands compromised.

The next challenge is keeping our classrooms, furnitures, washrooms and taps sanitised in addition to ensuring that children wash their hands every two hours while continuously maintaining a distance of six feet from each other. 

No Bag Schooling

Collection and correction of classwork and homework copies and returning the corrected/ checked copies in the traditional way is again not possible. This is so because even though children stand less chance of catching the virus, the disease can easily be transferred to the staff through books and copies that kids carry home.

This can be dealt with by opting for ‘no-bag-schooling’. Whatever written work, reading material, stationery items our kids require has to be kept within the school premises. Are we ready to invest in cupboards and lockers for every child across the nation? I doubt. Report card distribution in the traditional manner becomes an issue too.

Daily thermal scanning of employees, safe drinking water, ample sanitisers, soap dispensers and weekly corona detection tests for every employee becomes essential for the system to run somewhat smoothly.

Are we mentally prepared for all these precautions?  

Are we motivated enough to teach children in batches as all cannot be accommodated in a single day? 

Most important, will our government be able to provide this kind of safety net to our education system? 

Finally, as our children cannot be taught digitally from a distance, are we ready to find a safe commute for lakhs and lakhs of teachers in the changed protocol of public transport.

Majority of the government school teachers who reside in big cities and towns who travel each day to reach the remotest schools in far flung villages all over the country use public transport to reach schools. Now when we are preparing to open up after the lockdown in few months one of the biggest problem that the teachers will face would be to commute.

In the coming time and the changed circumstances, as a teacher of government school I just wish my children remain safe while they start coming back to their alma mater. I also wish that the teachers are able to reach out to their duties without being hindered due to unavailability of transport facilities.

(Ritu Jamals is a government teacher in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh)

 

(The views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion, beliefs and view point of the owners of asiannewsmakers.com)

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