Is it safe to reopen schools during COVID-19? Read what has happened in the other countries.

Schools in India were shut down by mid-March this year because of COVID-19 spread. Though the state and central governments failed to perform the scheduled board exams, there were still distant thoughts about reopening schools.

The schools have switched to online classes as June rolled around. Yet three months into the new education program, many state governments have been in discussions with the Center about reopening schools were given the ineffectiveness of the current system, students’ mental health problems, and several students’ failure to digitally attend classes. This has created a lot of panic among parents in schools with the ongoing pandemic over health and safety concerns.

While the reopening of our country’s schools is still being debated, in the last three months several other countries around the world have resumed in-person classes, and here’s what has happened so far.

Schools across the globe 

Governments in many countries have introduced safety measures such as routine monitoring of staff members, the availability of hand washers and sanitation, decreasing the number of students in each class, avoiding assemblies, and establishing ‘protective bubble’ groups for each student to reduce their interaction with each other.

Scotland opened its schools in August and by the autumn term, the rest of the UK is expected to open their schools. A sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in schools, however, triggered fear among residents. Many schools immediately shut down and restricted the reopening of green zones to junior high schools.

Germany saw a reduced number of COVID-19 cases reopening all schools. Classes have been reorganized into ‘cohorts‘ or small student classes and are held on a phased basis with each cohort having their dedicated schoolroom. In the case of an illness, this step was taken to quarantine the respective cohort, rather than the entire school.

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Japan also managed to monitor COVID-19 distribution. As for the country’s schools, they re-opened in June. While various schools implemented different approaches, Japanese students were attending classes on alternating days. Students undergo regular temperature tests and lunches are silent, socially distancing affairs.

Israel was one of the first countries to reopen the schools soon after a significant drop in COVID-19 cases. The Israeli government agreed to bring back students by the end of May but infections were identified at a high school in Jerusalem within days of reopening leading to a major outbreak of cases. As a result, it closed some schools again.

So what do we need to implement from those countries?

India aims to rebuild educational institutions in a phased manner between 1 September and 14 November, according to a recent article by The Week. The proposed proposal underway, according to the report, is to assign specific days for various parts of a class to attend school. But the Center is not in favor of reopening primary and pre-primary schools.

Given the growing number of COVID-19 cases and the population in our country as opposed to the other nations, people questioned the decision to reopen educational institutions.

Although the Centre may take some of these protection and precautionary steps, reopening schools will put many students and children at risk immediately.