‘Hybrid learning essential for reopening of schools’

As the government looks to reopen schools after August 15, hybrid offline-online learning, alternate day school, minimal-contact games, and tie-ups with local hospitals will be essential. These suggestions have been made to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, which is drawing up a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the reopening of schools.

Mumbai-based LEAD School, which runs 800 online schools across the country, has come out with a post-lockdown handbook to consider suggestions on reopening of schools. The handbook has been created after extensive surveys and discussions with schools across India, research on the recommendations, and best practices from WHO, UNICEF, U.K., Denmark, China and South Africa.

Cooperation is key

“For schools, the post-lockdown challenges can be solved when they work along with parents, teachers, education department and local governments to create a safe and healthy environment,” Sumeet Mehta, co-founder and CEO, LEAD School, said.

Key suggestions from the handbook include adopting a cloud-based system to help schools integrate online-offline learning, alternate day school or double shift school to maintain social distancing and reduce operational cost. “Starting the academic year by June end online or increasing academic year duration to avoid learning loss during the year, and advanced planning of assessments and staggered evaluations are some of the points we have suggested,” Mr. Mehta said.·

Other recommendations include maintaining 6-feet distance in seating through one student per desk or two per medium desk or three per long desk with one empty seat between each student with similar vacant seating practices to be followed in school transport. Opting for non-contact games and activities like yoga, aerobics, hopscotch, athletics or minimal contact games like badminton and table tennis among others have also been suggested.·

“Staggered lunch breaks and supervised lunch in the classroom for younger students. Tie-up with a local hospital or nursing home, on campus or on call availability of medical attendant will be crucial,” Mr. Mehta said, explaining that the idea of the handbook was to help schools deliver learning while taking care of the safety and health of their students and staff.

Roadmap for disruptions

The handbook contains a checklist that every school can use to prepare for the post-lockdown period.

“LEAD School tried creating a roadmap for schools to handle any disruption in operations once the lockdown is over. Such disruptions could include heightened concerns of child and staff safety at school, sudden changes in COVID-19 zones or new outbreak of cases, quarantining of students or teacher due to positive cases and any new government measures on social distancing that may hamper school operations. The handbook has been circulated to over 800 schools in 15 States, covering over 3 lakh students studying in Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities and towns in India,” Mr. Mehta said.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 9:33:41 AM |

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