Should Students be Allowed to Go Back to School Yet?
Most community restrictions were lifted in most countries in light of the improving situation from COVID-19. Most industries and businesses were allowed to resume operation. But one thing in question; should schools resume normal operations, too?
In the Philippines, the president expressed his disapproval to face to face learning until vaccine is made available. Many people even go as far as suspending the school year altogether.
School year in the Philippines is usually June to March. In light of the current situation, the government initially approved August 24th as the opening of classes, good two months late. The country was under Enhanced Community Quarantine or lockdown from March 15th. Some restrictions were lifted gradually in different places, and in June, most areas including Metro Manila is under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) where only minimal restrictions were imposed, thus, the question on the resumption of classes came about.
Due to contradicting opinions, the government is mulling over suspending classes even further. But based on the initial result of enrollment done online in the month of June, the list of enrollees for the school year 2020-2021 was pretty high. In the survey, some options were presented: online, blended (online and face-to-face mix), face-to-face, modular among others. According to the survey, online is preferred by the majority.
As early as now, problems arise from each given option.
For online, not everyone can afford the required gadgets and internet connection, their environment is not conducive for such, or simply that they aren’t equipped with the basic skills for it.
For blended. problems on online are still present added with the fear of exposing the students to risk in doing face-to-face lessons.
For face-to-face, parents and guardians are scared of the risk of being exposed and infected especially since there aren’t any vaccine nor medicine available yet.
For modular, not all households have someone suitable to guide the student’s home schooling.
For these reasons, many people prefer to just skip the school year altogether until the situation becomes much better.
Such difficulties and fears can’t be invalidated since everyone is on a different circumstance. We really has to consider and think about the education of the kids. Since the economic capacities of each household is different, education should be the one thing that everyone should have equal access. It is one of the strongest ways to fight against many social and economic problems.
If you were a parent, which would you prefer?
Education shouldn’t be expensive nor risky. Education is vital to the society. But the question is, are we ready for all alternative set up presented? How prepared are our educators? How ready are our schools? Setting up a new system for a long term activity can’t be done overnight. We need preparation; parents, teachers and students alike. Do we have the necessary equipments, materials, methods and knowledge for this new system? On the other hand, if we go back to the traditional classroom set up, are we mentally and physically ready for the risks we have to take outside the safety of our homes? Is it worth the risk? Or are we just being paranoid?