During a press briefing today, the World Health Organisation Regional Director Hans Kluge, said that, so far, school settings had not been a main contributor to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“There’s also more and more publications that add to the body of evidence that children do play a role in the transmission but that this is, so far, more linked with social gatherings,” Kluge said.
This statement by Hans Kluge comes as students all over the world prepare to go back to school, whether in person or virtually, with authorities in Malta, the EU, the US and elsewhere trying to come up with the perfect and ideal balancing act.
What could Malta’s 2020/21 scholastic year look like?
Here in Malta, the Ministry of Education has presented three scenarios for the continuing of education this autumn. With discussions taking place this week and associations demanding a decision be taken promptly, this is what school could mean for thousands of Maltese students this year.
1. Schools open as normal.
This is the ministry’s preferred option and would mean that students physically return to school as normal.
Countries around the world have already re-opened and if this is the approach taken in Malta, we can expect to see separated desks, staggered opening, closing and break times, and no assemblies or other mass activities.
In the UK, classes or year groups will also be put in “protective bubbles” meaning these children will have contact with only a limited number of other students.
In many Asian counties, it is also mandatory for teachers and students of any age to wear masks in class.
2. Students attend in alternating groups
This scenario would mean a blend of physical and online learning with different groups of students alternating between going to school and learning from home. Reports from The University of Malta and Junior College have suggested that this will be the model followed for the upcoming scholastic year.
This means that lectures with a large number of students, and those which render social distancing impossible, will be recorded for some students to watch at home with others being physically present in the lecture hall
3. Learning takes place fully online
Many colleges in the USA will revert back to online lectures for the full academic year. Naturally, this is the safest option, but due to several constraints, this could possibly disadvantage some students and is not likely to be the way forward this year.
How do you think schools should re-open this year?