It has been almost one and a half year since the covid pandemic began. Out of everyone affected, the pandemic has been particularly difficult on children. They have been forced to stay indoors with no scope of outdoor activity, playing and even going to school. Their education has suffered because let us all be real and face it, studying online is not easy. Too often the internet connection is lost, the teacher or student is inaudible, and the child is distracted. Also, there are so many skills that children simply cannot learn online. In addition to that, the amount of time children spend on screens has increased drastically.
Pre-covid screen time for children used to be about one and a half which has now increased to thrice the amount. Besides that, since children are making no physical movement and only moving from couch to couch alone, there has been a sharp increase in obesity amongst children. Further, the children from economically weaker sections of the society are suffering immensely as they do not have the privilege of online education. Online education is sadly not accessible by all. The children are getting affected significantly as their social skills are not being developed, their confidence is taking a hit and their physical as well as mental health is being affected. If we were to be completely honest, by keeping children away from school, we might be doing more harm than good.
Yes, the risk of the third wave of covid which is present but children anyway have a strong immunity against diseases. Pretty much everything is being reopened whether it is malls, theatres or gyms. Then why not schools?!
We aren’t saying don’t take precautions. On the contrary, we cannot stress the importance of taking precautions enough. These precautions include making sure that the entire school staff including teachers and support staff is fully vaccinated. If you live in an area where there is an active outbreak and community transmissions, then you should not send your children to school. But if the area is seeing lower rates of infection then opening schools should be taken into consideration. The class sizes should be kept small taking the land area into consideration and ensure that physical distancing is put in place. Opening of schools should be done in a phased manner with proper social distancing, necessary sanitization and compulsory wearing of masks. In an attempt to keep children at a reduced risk, we cannot deprive them of quality education.