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Safe Back-to-School Practices Schools Should Follow

One of the challenges that children have faced during this COVID-19 pandemic is home education, which influences their development, causing their return to the classroom to generate, in some cases, panic.

The Woman Post | José Manuel López

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On March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, since then a lot of uncertainty has been generated in parents and children, having to suddenly face a new educational dynamic, virtual education.

This new model of education has had consequences on the integral development of children. Dr. Julia Harper, a renowned expert in brain development and neuroplasticity, says that vision and the development of brain functions have been compromised. On the other hand, the psychiatrist and therapist José Miguel Gómez, affirms that the educational centers represent a propitious space for the emotional development and the socialization skills that children need to interrelate, learn norms and rules of coexistence.

For Gómez, the virtual model has the limitation that it does not imply comprehensive socialization, nor does it promote the skills to form groups and live experiences.

Now, some countries have tried to reopen schools, but what will the transition process look like for students when they return to the classroom?

Schools must resume classes as safely and quickly as possible to carry out face-to-face activities since they play a vital role in the education, health, and well-being of children. Schools must play an important role, taking steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring that children enjoy a safe and healthy learning environment.

Also read: WILL IT BE POSSIBLE TO REMOVE BARRIERS TO GIRLS' EDUCATION?

For this reason, different entities such as UNICEF ​​together with Education 2020, América Solidaria, and various organizations, students, and education actors, developed a series of recommendations to authorities and parents that would allow them to have a better school year to ensure that the educational practices are safe:

1. Promote a hybrid class system: refers to the fact that students can take the same class from home or school, simultaneously.

2. Ensure that everyone has devices and internet connection: The entire community must be supported with resources that guarantee the quality of the classes.

3. Guarantee the additional resources that schools require to adopt, taking into account biosafety protocols.

4. Report decisions in a clear and timely manner regarding the return to school and its changes.

5. Support the psychological well-being of the community.

6. Adapt schools to use outdoor spaces.

7. Plan transportation to avoid contagion, taking into account physical distancing measures.

8. Generate more extracurricular activities.

9. Encourage community participation for decision-making.

10. Monitor the mental and emotional health of the community.

Also, last December UNICEF ​​delivered an article titled "Technical guidelines for the return to educational establishments." This document establishes some criteria to face the school reopening process: on one hand, it establishes the principles to take into account when planning and strategically organizing the return to school.

It is important to remember that returning to the classroom is voluntary. Those institutions that want to adapt to the alternation model (which combines face-to-face classes with home study) must comply with all the biosafety protocols established by the competent entities.

The school stage is one of the most special in life, and particularly in the times that we are living. In the quest for the little ones to quickly adapt to their new routine, parents can make certain mistakes. Above all, they must prevent this issue from becoming a chaotic situation.