COVID-19 pandemic kept schools shut across the country, from the very beginning of the new academic year, creating confusions dilemma and frustrations in students teacher and administrators alike. In fact, hopefully when educational institutions eventually open for regular classes, it might be an uphill task for students, teachers and parents not only to ensure that safety protocols are adhered to, but more importantly the way it is going to impact. Imagine the impact of a child entering a school with first someone holding a Gun (temperature) to his head triggering a burst of Cortisol ( the Fight or Flight hormone, detrimental for mental and physical health). Imagine the frustration of the teachers , notwithstanding the practical encumbrances of enforcing precautionary measures among older students, and utmost vigil has to be observed in the case of students in kindergarten and lower primary sections.
'The apprehension of sending children back to what was once a safe-haven is undoubtedly a question in mind for many of us. Several considerations must be taken into account to maintain safe school operations on the road to recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic so that it can promote emotional and physical well-being. While certainly, it is going to be each one to their own- situation, some of these measures can be adopted –
Working in shifts or staggering school timings by allowing for batches at different hours will be beneficial. Important exams can be conducted on different dates while providing parents with an option to opt for classroom teaching or online can help regulate the number of students in a classroom. All team sports activity, as well as spectator sports, need to be put on hold, but incorporating art activities can help stimulate the creativity of the children.
The removal of standard twin benches at school, and following the WHO social distancing norms would be of utmost priority. The new classroom design should allow for increased circulation of fresh air indoors, and classes must be held outdoors as much as possible to reduce contamination. Essentially, the class strength needs to be halved in the physical space by either increasing the number of rooms or by going in for a combination of real-time and online classes. Sanitation stations should be installed in every classroom and vinyl floor markings can be used to ensure unidirectional movement in all passages and corridors.
It is also an important time to show empathy towards the teachers; Working full time, managing multiple roles, grappling with technology and yet smiling and greeting the children to ensure a happy learning environment.
A new set of challenges will come our way once our educational institutions in India reopen. This will also lead to new solutions by design and build and architecture companies in India for designing our educational institutes while catering to the safety norms to create a healthy environment for everyone.' - by Envisage