Some recommendations for face-to-face classes
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Recent news reports suggest that face-to-face classes are being resumed despite the coronavirus pandemic and the unknown effects it might have on the young population. While the concern remains for 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 COVID-19 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 and (ii) lack of resources such as money, computers, tablets and/or smart phones and Internet access to facilitate virtual learning.
Being cognizant 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 distant teaching methods should remain in place;
Primary School: Only Grades 4-6 return to school. The classrooms to be fitted with television monitors to allow teachers to teach from one classroom and the lecture is transmitted to the other classrooms. The tablets given to students of Grades 4-6 should be distributed to the Grades 1-3 students to allow for virtual learning at home.
Secondary School: Students in Forms 1-3 attend classes between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.; those in Forms 5-6, from 12 noon - 3 p.m.. This is essentially a shift system that allows for the aforementioned methodology of the conduct of classes at the primary schools. An alternative arrangement could be for Forms 1-3 and Forms 4-6 to attend on alternate full school days.
The above-mentioned proposals may not be 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 available.
HERWIN A SMART