The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lifestyles tremendously and forced us to adapt to a new situation. One of the major effects is the shift to online learning during the second semester for the academic year of 2019 – 2020. Even though this has helped us in implementing and developing our teaching technologies, admins, teachers, parents and students still wonder ‘What will happen next?’
On Our Island
The Ministry of Education in Bahrain have created three scenarios in order to avoid any upcoming obstacles:
- Keep the schools closed and focus on online learning
- Open schools and take necessary precautions
- A hybrid of in-school learning and online learning
Regardless of the options, education and learning is going to be different. Without any changes to the learning material, how will the students cope? But also, how will teachers be able to teach both in-person and online simultaneously? Is it safe to go back yet?
To guarantee a safe environment these new rules will be implemented in every school:
- All school buildings and tools will be disinfected consistently throughout the year
- Temperature checks for all teaching staff and students
- No morning assemblies, gatherings, school activities or events
- Cafeterias and water cooler services will be suspended
- School recess and breaks will be taken inside the classrooms
- Students with chronic diseases and who are taking any treatments will be excused from attending school
- Students will leave school at different times according to a schedule
Across the World
In Kuwait, special adjustments have been made to the teaching material, to cope with the pressure of time teachers and students are facing.
Other countries, like the UAE, have decided to start the new academic year 2020-2021 on the 23rd of August. Admins and teachers will go first, then students will join by the 30th of August. But, it still hasn’t been decided if students are going back to school, focusing on online learning or a mixture of both.
The United Kingdom has announced that schools will reopen full-time during September. All parents would receive the COVID-19 testing kit if there is a suspicion that the student has developed any of the virus symptoms. Students might also be asked to self-isolate at home as a precaution if there is a large number of cases discovered at school. Although the government stated that there will be no need for a whole school closure, unless it was recommended by the health administrators.
Some of the rules that will be implemented by the schools are:
- Having strict hand-washing rules
- Encourage the students to use the “catch it, bin it, kill it” method if they sneeze or cough
- Improve the cleaning arrangements
- Be ready to contact the appropriate health authorities if needed
- Providing hand sanitizer for everyone
- Applying the social distance rules wherever it is possible
- Use face masks for children over 11 years old
But, the teachers?
This unique situation that we are facing today is placing lots of pressure on teachers. Teachers are worried about going back to school. Issues that we find might come up are:
Communicating information to students
Teaching online is not an easy task. Especially if you have 24 students. With online classes, teachers need to find new ways to communicate basic information. And also they need to insure that students are understanding the material.
Not every household has the right tools to learn online. Teachers noticed that the majority of students were not able to attend online classes. Some even missing submissions and assignments. In addition, some students and parents didn’t have the knowledge to use the online learning platforms.
Communication with parents
Teachers are trying to find better ways to keep in contact with parents. Since the role of the teacher has shifted to the parent, information needs to be communicated to both the parent and student. Some parents might not have the appropriate technology (ipads, laptops, etc..) to ease the communication.
No clear future plans
Teachers are worried about the fact that they still do not have a clear outline about the next step. This would then put them under extra pressure. They would have to re-create their teaching plans to fit both in-school learning and online learning.
Teachers would have to deal with the emotional and mental stress of their students. Mental health is important. Whether the students are in school or learning at home. Taking care of their well-being during this pandemic will not be easy.
Going back to work
Some teachers are also worried about not being able to teach. They might be going back to school while their children are at home attending online classes. Juggling between teaching, being at home, and teaching at home. It’s a situation that no one can be prepared for.
Students are not prepared for online classes
Teachers are trying to find ways to insure the participation of their students. Having them actually do the required assignments. It is easy to miss an online class, especially when you’re already at home. It’s also difficult to keep motivating the student. And keeping them accountable.
Social distancing concerns
Classrooms are not appropriate for social distancing. Many actually have very limited space and keeping each desk 2 meters apart is not possible. This resulted in splitting the class into two groups. And alternating when to come to school.
A Special ‘Thank You’
With that in mind, a special ‘thank you’ goes to all the teachers out there. Even though there are lots of changes going on, teachers are still trying their best to ensure that each and every student is getting the best learning experience. We always want to lend a helping hand to our community. And we are willing to make a teacher’s life easier. That’s why we are offering Springring at 50% off. To ease the communication and make distance learning possible.