Covid-19 pandemic. Romanian students will be in classrooms for only part of the time next year

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Romania’s education minister has warned that it won’t be „Back to School” as normal in September.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, schools will implement ‘blended learning’ models, a mix of classroom instruction and remote education such as online learning when students return to school in the fall, she said Monday.

„We have looked at all the ways we could reopen education institutes in 2020-2021,” the minister, Monica Anisei said, referring to the next school year. „All the scenarios take into account recommendations made by the health ministry,” she added.

“The best scenario is one where some pupils will be in school and others will do remote learning, taking turns depending on the epidemiological  situation,” she told Digi24.

Romania, like other countries, closed schools and universities n March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Students took part in online classes until school broke up in June. Private schools and kindergartens reopened in June.

Anisei said extra funds had been allocated to buy tablets and the acquisition procedure would be completed by 10 September, before public schools return.

Universul.net looks at how schools coped with the pandemic after it spread across the world nearly five months ago.

Early this spring, school gates around the world slammed shut. By early April, an estimated 1.5 billion young people were staying home as part of broader shutdowns to protect people from the novel coronavirus, Sciencemag.org reported.

The drastic measures worked in many places, dramatically slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

However, as weeks turned into months, pediatricians, parents and educators began to voice concern that school closures were doing more harm than good, especially as evidence mounted that children rarely develop severe symptoms from the virus.  

Virtual education is often a poor substitute for the real thing and left many parents juggling jobs and childcare. Lower-income children were going hungry or were not attending lessons, and reports showed that some children were suffering abuse now that school staff could no longer detect and report early signs of it.

By early June, more than 20 countries had reopened schools, while others including Taiwan, Nicaragua, and Sweden, never closed their schools.

Some schools imposed strict limits on contact between children, while others let them play freely. Some required masks, while others made them optional. Some closed temporarily if just one student was diagnosed with Covid-19, others stayed open even when multiple children or staff were affected, sending only ill people and direct contacts into quarantine.

Science examined reopening strategies from South Africa to Finland to Israel and reported that „some encouraging patterns emerged.”

Together, they suggest a combination of keeping student groups small and requiring masks and some social distancing helps keep schools and communities safe, and that younger children rarely spread the virus to one another or bring it home. 

But opening safely, experts agree, isn’t just about the adjustments a school makes. It’s also about how much virus is circulating in the community.

LĂSAȚI UN MESAJ

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here