Instead of reopening schools, educators need to research how to communicate effectively in online classes
There are more and more choirs to reopen schools in the midst of the new coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), as articulated by many experts in the print and electronic media. We have witnessed a tsunami of cases in the second wave, and the country still has a significant workload.
Given the current situation, parents are not enthusiastic about sending their children to school.
Some private school teachers who have lost their jobs seem to be loudly in favor of reopening educational institutions. Some psychologists, doctors who are not pediatric professionals, are also behind the call again.
It is true that many children lose social connection / skills with other children and teachers. A personal school environment helps children’s mental and physical health. The teacher-student relationship effectively captures the topic.
All this is correct; however, the protagonists behind the reopening of schools have no solution to address the health aspects of the raging epidemic.
If we look at the health problems caused by COVID-19, we seem to learn from mistakes rather than from scientific studies.
In the U.S., several states, where the majority of adults were vaccinated, were relieved of their mask mandates in May. In fact, there were even mask-cutting ceremonies. But the cases began to spike again with the rapid spread of the new delta version.
The mandate for masks has returned in most states, and the focus has shifted again to schools.
In India, as cases began to decline after the second wave, our experts are delighted that we have successfully defeated the epidemic.
Some experts still feel that with the latest seroprevalence finding of 67%, we are close to herd immunity and normal life can continue in the country. The reopening of all sectors, especially schools, is gaining momentum.
On August 5, 2021, it is clear that cases are growing steadily in states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala, the latter accounting for half of the country’s daily amounts.
Nevertheless, we have no idea why the number of infections is rising again. There are reportedly at least 30 unreported cases, knowingly or unknowingly, for each COVID-19 case registered in India.
The delta variant is said to be several times more virulent and infectious. One silver lining, however, is that fully vaccinated people are only slightly infected, with very little hospitalization and death.
In the United States and other countries, schools need to be reopened, given the widespread vaccination of children over 12 years of age. United States Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has issued protocols emphasizing ventilation systems and social distance in schools. Teachers and staff are encouraged and encouraged to fully vaccinate themselves. Daily temperature monitoring and strict communication protocols for staff and students should be introduced. The children’s health system is robust, given pediatricians and children’s hospitals.
In the United States, the reopening of schools seems justified by such measures. However, such precautions do not exist in India.
Our print media contain a number of reports and articles written by renowned doctors to reopen schools while pointing out the need to vaccinate children. Such reports are at best misleading.
Indian children should receive a nasal vaccine with COVID-19, if available, one such article said. However, the same article stated that vaccination against COVID-19 is not necessary for students, so schools should be reopened immediately.
The argument seems to be that schools have reopened in more than 170 countries and vaccination of adults has no effect on the increase in hospitalization of children. This seems factually incorrect. The number of children’s hospitals is growing in many states around the world, including Texas, Florida, and the United States.
Attempts to vaccinate children over 12 years of age are still ongoing in India. No valid data was found. At least one vaccine candidate for Zydus Cadilla has been granted an emergency license in the country.
In 2020, when the first wave of COVID-19 occurred, schools were closed and strict public restrictions were introduced. The children were heavily shaded, so the infections were incredibly low.
Recent studies have shown compelling evidence that children are predisposed to COVID-19. In the UK, the government needs to be wait-and-see, said Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh in an article in The Guardian.
If you vaccinated people over the age of 12, observe the results if they are vulnerable or not, if they have been vaccinated, he added. Herd immunity is only possible if 98 percent of the population is vaccinated.
In the UK, there has also been an increase in infections in children. It can be amazing when schools reopen.
An important point is the long COVID-19. Its effects on the heart, kidneys, lungs are being studied and seem to be a great challenge. The UK could “become a Petri dish for the variations,” the professor warned.
Protecting children from infections is paramount for all nations. Buzz words like a child need to have a “school vibe” for their mental and physical behavior to pop out of opinion columns and social media posts.
However, the reopening of schools in the midst of the epidemic has serious consequences.
Instead of reopening schools, educators need to research how to communicate effectively in online classes via computer or telephone.
In India, almost every household, even in rural areas, has a smartphone to access government-provided welfare schemes. Many families have television, despite their living conditions.
The Telangana government’s efforts to strengthen educational programs with T-SAT Vidya and T-SAT Nipuna programs are highly commendable. Online lessons are taught in an understandable and student-friendly way.
Such demonstrations of online teaching should be followed by other states as well. The services of Vidya volunteers and teachers should be involved to make trips to villages to check the quality of education and learning in difficult times.
One reason for the noise of reopening schools is that private schools are unable to collect fees and funds. Therefore, they cannot pay teachers and staff.
This is an administrative issue that governments need to take action to address. There is a need for a healthy, open discussion about measures / restrictions to protect children from this dangerous virus.
It is worth noting that educators and psychologists did not turn their attention to colleges.
The solution to reopen college and higher education institutions is to completely vaccinate students and staff. We need to protect our children and design our strategies for safely reopening schools, and in the meantime, we need to improve our online educational experiences.
Finally, we need to assess whether we have enough pediatric wards and pediatricians who know the treatment regimen. Allow children ages 12-18 to be fully vaccinated before opening schools for them.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Down To Earth.