Closed schools

Muna Al-Fuzai

There’s a huge debate over when kids should go back to schools, not only in Kuwait, but worldwide. Several news reports have said reopening has begun in numerous countries around the world, with many countries lifting their lockdowns. But various measures have been imposed, including wearing facemasks, social distancing and school timings. These basic steps are meant to keep students safe and reduce the transmission of the virus.

For example, Denmark eased its coronavirus lockdown in mid-April by reopening schools and daycare centers. Teaching staff are under instructions to maintain social distancing between children. Some teachers took pupils outside and wrote with chalk on the playground instead of a blackboard. I think this is a good way to continue the process of education and learning in a balanced and sustainable manner.

In Switzerland, parents are dropping their kids off at a distance and classrooms are half full to reduce crowding, with desks spaced two metres apart. Also, schools in Australia’s biggest state, New South Wales, allow students to attend once a week on a staggered basis. In Shanghai, students and staff are required to enter the school building through a thermal scanner and the walls are papered with posters on measures to tackle the coronavirus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that British primary schools will partially reopen as of June 1. Johnson said in a press conference that the return to places of study will be confined in the first stage to students between the ages of four and six and between 10 and 11 years.
I am opposed to stopping or preventing kids from learning under any circumstances, especially as this is not a case of war and weapons but illness that can be stopped by keeping a distance and your hands clean all the time. How difficult is that?!

In Kuwait, schools are still closed. The Cabinet has suspended studies until August due to the implications of the coronavirus. The new school year should start on Dec 1. I think this date seems logical, even though some people have demanded the cancellation of the entire school year until the virus ends around the world. I don’t think this is sensible for several reasons, as no one can determine when this virus will end globally. I believe win-win solutions are always possible to address the situation.

For example, the school week can be reduced to only two days a week, with limited numbers of pupils and spaced hours. The goal is to keep students in contact with their schools and continue the learning process. Leaving things unresolved is not correct because electronic games cannot replace school.

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