As the entire world is making efforts to go back to normal after the coronavirus outbreak, parents and teachers are getting more anxious about students returning to school. The UK made a slow introduction into the process, with many schools opening before the end of summer break. At the start of September, we finally faced the new reality. Schools are back, but with many rules and restrictions for school leaders, teachers, parents, and students.
COVID-19 affected the education system in ways we never expected to see. The start of the new school year was emotional, especially for primary-school pupils and their parents. They met friends they hadn’t seen for several months. Most of them were happy to return to the normal educational environment, since they found remote learning too challenging.
What about those new rules? Will students and teachers be able to handle them?
Guidance for Student Safety and Wellbeing During the Pandemic
The UK government issued guidelines on how educational institutions will work during the pandemic. Learning is an important part of people’s lives, and it mustn’t be sacrificed no matter what the situation is. The school environment is vital for the academic, cognitive, and social development of children.
All teachers received guidelines on how to provide online instructions for pupils and support the remote learning process. For now, the schools are open and the process takes place in the usual educational setting.
According to the plan that was published in late August 2020, pupils in all year groups returned to full-time schooling from the beginning of September. The guidelines are similar to those recommended to the general public:
- All infected people must stay at home
- Students and staff members who develop symptoms must stay at home and get tested
- Schools must take steps towards enhanced cleaning arrangements, as well as respiratory and hand hygiene for students and staff
- Physical distancing must be practiced whenever possible
- Student grouping and contact between groups should be avoided and minimized
In general, the students will attend school like usual, but they will work more individually. Group projects will be minimized, or the teams will connect through video conferencing tools. When students need tutoring, they will be recommended to surf EduBirdie and get virtual assistance by professional writers. With these new standards, the educational process should remain undisturbed.
Face coverings are another concern. WHO recommends them for children above 12 years of age. They should wear face coverings under the same recommendations as adults. Currently, the UK government does not recommend masks as necessary in schools. When the system of controls is established and physical distance is maintained, masks are not required. Educational institutions are allowed to require masks to be used indoors, under their own discretion.
If the schools follow these guidelines effectively, they will reduce the risks of COVID-19 clusters in their environment.
How Will Students Handle These Rules?
Although the educational process will continue in the school setting, the students will face substantial changes. They will still interact with their friends, but physical distancing recommendations might take their toll on the process of socialization.
The coronavirus pandemic affects everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. Regardless of the age of students, it won’t be easy for them to keep distance from all their friends. When someone develops symptoms, they might be avoided by other pupils out of fear and prejudice.
The students will feel disconnected. Many of them are already getting writing assistance at EduBirdie website, since they aren’t getting solid instructions and support from their teachers. That has to change. The professors and the remaining school staff must provide emotional support to students during the pandemic. If someone is lagging behind, the teacher should be available off school hours to talk with the student by phone or via video conferencing.
Schools must enable safe ways for pupils to connect with their friends. They can play and talk in outdoor spaces, in small groups and while keeping distance. It will be difficult for school staff to organize and control this process, but it has to be done.
What If the COVID-19 Situation Gets Out of Control?
According to the NHS, children with mild cold-like symptoms should continue attending school. Runny noses and sore throats are not considered to be symptoms of coronavirus. In heavy cold cases, children are recommended to stay at home until they feel better.
If a student develops symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, continuous cough or loss of their sense of taste and smell, they will have to get tested and stay at home.
If there’s an outbreak in a particular school, the staff will collaborate with local health protection teams to control the situation.
BIO: James Collins loves learning and traveling. Both of these activities were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, so he turned to blogging. James enjoys writing about education and adrenaline-boosting activities.
Don’t miss another story! Get the Island’s latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.