Jogo Behaviour Support Blog
When will schools return after the easing of lockdown restrictions? Wednesday, 6 May 2020
When will schools return after the easing of lockdown restrictions?
The question of schools returning and what that exactly looks like seems to be on most people’s minds at the moment. Of course one could argue that schools are still open as those pupils described as vulnerable of children of key workers can still attend. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the take up has not been that high but it will be interesting to see the figures once they are available.
However, in essence during the lockdown schools have been closed to the vast majority of pupils. But one should not forget nor diminish the support schools and teachers are and continue to give to pupils and their families with home-schooling.
The Department of Education posted an excellent set of case studies on how distance learning can be supported keeping primary and secondary pupils motivated and engaged at a distance
The first week or two of homeschooling had the novelty factor, the newness of it all tinged with an element of excitement that comes with the unknown tends to get us through the first stage. In these first few days of homeschooling parents may have enthusiastically downloaded apps, subscribed to websites, bought resources, constructed timetables, established routines etc. However, as the days turned into weeks this initial enthusiasm is hard to maintain. The question of when will schools re-open starts to be discussed.
The question of when and if schools should return is a complex one and one that has so far seemed characterised by a lack of imagination, creativity and realism. There are a number of different points of view and they do at times seem to be in competition with each, when surely now is the time to have a measured conversation on achieving just one thing what is in the best interest of pupils. Everything else will have a degree of importance and need to be considered but the best interest of pupils surely comes first.
The issue of safety is paramount and it is this issue that seems to lead to a divergence of opinion from all sides of the debate government, professionals and parents/carers. But it is not one issue debate it is more complex. One could take the view that social distancing is impossible in schools and therefore the logical conclusion would be not re-open schools until there is complete relaxation of these guidelines which could be a year away. I don’t think anybody is seriously suggesting schools stay closed for that period of time, which means we need to be creative in our thinking. But isn’t that we do in Education look at an issue and come up with creative solutions?
We must begin the debate with an agreed position that schools will return sooner than later and then the issue of how to do it safely can be addressed, COVID-19 will be here next week, next month and next year. The debate needs to be about schools re-opening within the context of COVID-19 still with us and how we do that. This needs to be planned and the conversation needs to be happening now.
This conversation will then inform a debate that poses questions, suggests ideas, puts forward solutions, but more importantly puts those who work in education in control of the agenda. That is, yes we are going back and this is how we will do it.
Next week Jogo Behaviour Support will publish a Podcast on this issue and try to start the debate. The Podcast will not ask should schools re-open but how they can safely. We would very much like to hear your views and include them in the debate. Please contact us on email@example.com