Nagaveni T, Principal of Orchids The International School, has been a passionate educationist and her 18 years of experience in the education domain has always been a new learning experience every day. She believes education must help children to excel holistically across academics, sports, arts, and co-curricular pursuits while ensuring their safety and well-being. As an educator, her goal has been to make the school, a happy place, where teaching is pleasure and learning is joy; where learning and excelling is a passion, and culture and values have a pre-eminent place.
More than a year has passed in the life of students in this difficult time of pandemic… still there is enormous apprehension and uncertainty with regard to schools functioning like the “normal” we once defined.
Well, the students today are facing various issues from disturbed home environment, absence of social circle, low self-esteem, anxieties about their performances in academics, their lives, and so on.
Life beyond classrooms has been received by students, parents, and teachers with fear and uncertainty. The teachers tried their best to build up a healthy rapport with the students by creating interactive and effective teaching-learning sessions.
But there is still a learning gap which all of us agree could be fulfilled only in physical classroom teaching.
These are just the small ways of reaching out to the students, who are now spending most of their time at home with themselves, with their families, bonding with each other, and building relationships.
Keeping these in mind as an educator and more so as a human, I appeal to the parents to base their decisions by checking the reality
What kind of support can a parent expect from school to face such challenging times?
The dilemma of parents for sending children to school could be resolved by looking at the situation from the following perspectives
Firstly the situation should be analysed from a broader perspective. Parents should understand the larger implications on students’ socio-emotional wellbeing. Physical schooling will enhance the confidence level of students.
This reality of old normal can be safer if parents ensure that all the staff in the school are vaccinated and do not carry any symptoms of infection. This first step will be a real boost in the confidence level of parents to send their children to schools.
Any outsider entering school premises during school hours should be avoided as much as possible. The staff should be supplied with safety equipment like gloves or masks if required especially when they are with the students.
Secondly, as parents, the parents should get assurance from the school regarding “Social distancing” which would be a huge challenge in schools. Proper planning and implementation could be verified by parents.
The staff of the school should be oriented on how to implement this, in classrooms or other areas of school like a playground, dispersal areas, washrooms/ restrooms.
Next would be Security precautions taken while using common places toilets, buses, playground, break time and so on. The parents can check the SOPS are carefully planned and implemented. The school should have adequate staff to monitor the students’ safety in these areas.
Further, the Sanitisation measures undertaken by the schools along with an ideal number of students in each classroom. The government guidelines should be strictly followed. All entry-exit points should be equipped with sanitizers and thermometers.
Lastly, adequate paramedics, trained and separate well-equipped medical room. In case of emergencies, the school should be undertaking training for the staff.
Such small yet very important acts of ours instill hope and create a sense of security in the young minds and parents!