Many schools are reopening, but that doesn’t mean everything is going back to normal. Government officials and even school administrators in many public and international schools are concerned about a possible second or third wave but also recognize the need for the general public to go back to some sense of normalcy.
But many schools are not leaving everything to chance. They are placing new measures that will prevent the spread of the virus. Countries like Singapore and Denmark are creating new guidelines, but some countries that are easing lockdown restrictions have different plans on what they will do when students go back to school.
Since March, Germany has been in lockdown, and now students are slowly going back to school. But now, students are required to take a COVID-19 test. Secondary school students are required to do it themselves, which requires them to take a swab deep down their throats, close and label the test kit, then go back to the classroom. The results are sent to them via email overnight, and a positive result would require them to stay for two weeks at home.
Students must follow strict hygiene and social distancing rules, and for those who test negative, they could walk around school without the need to wear a mask, until the next COVID-19 test four days later. Class sizes are cut in half, and breaks are staggered to ensure that social distancing is maintained. Windows are left open, and so most students are dressed for the cold.
Singapore will open schools, but graduating classes will be given priority. Some schools will also need to follow a strict staggered schedule to control student numbers in classes. All students also need to wear a mask and get a temperature check before entering the school premises. Teachers will also be required to wear masks when lecturing. The Ministry of Education has also required exam-style seating arrangements and wipe-down routines after every lesson.
Taiwan has been exceptional in controlling COVID-19 infections, and the government reopened schools last February. During the lockdown, the government disinfected schools and also disseminated personal protective equipment. Schools in Taiwan are required to place plastic dividers between students in classrooms and to get temperature checks before they enter any building.
The United States
The US government has planned to reopen the country in three phases. Schools might open in phase two, along with other public spaces such as restaurants and theaters. However, medical experts are still wary of the possible rate of infection among children and teenagers. The American Enterprise Institute recommends that schools must place health measures to limit the spread of disease.
Many other countries are exploring different ways to protect their young population from the spread of the virus, but it remains to be seen if these measures will work. For now, strict hygiene such as regular handwashing and disinfection is the rule, along with social distancing measures outside or inside any public space. Students and schools are only now starting to realize what the new normal might mean for everyone.