Community Opinion: Schools Return from Lockdown

Community Reporter Sindy Santos has sent us this article stating her opinions on the announced full-time return of schools following the Coronavirus lockdown.

I wanted to believe the statement Schools reopening in August 2020, decision taken by the Government back in June was merely an illusion, something like giving families an injection of hope after having to go through the unpredictability of homeschooling due to the globally outbreak of COVID-19.

The news seemed to me strategically made to keep parents – especially many who were about to loose it- calm for the upcoming school holidays, make them happy by believing everything would be back to normal for the new term, so no more  24/7 at home, but a break from each other thanks to the best childcare institution, School, the Saviour I would call it.

However if by this time no vaccine was in place to fight the virus, the politicians whose main responsibility it is to keep the population safe, would take a sensible decision and do not, by any means, expose so many families to catch the virus, spread it and end up with more deaths in our communities.

To my surprise, I was wrong! It was not a strategy! They really meant it, the First Minister of Scotland released on Thursday the news of sending our ones to school in a matter of days, 11th August 2020 whatever the virus, like it or not.

Excuse me. With all my respects. – I do like Nicola-. But let me stop you there.

This is a very delicate issue, not a political but a parental decision. Like anything in life, personal opinions are divided, there is no right or wrong, not all is black or white, but a million shades of grey.

Therefore they should be offered options. At least A or B.

A: Allow the children who are willing to participate in this new trial, who are willing to face the consequences of COVID-19, not keen to work from home, cannot cope with homeschooling, are deseperately for a break, or whatever their personal reason is. No need to justify. Freedom of choice.

Option B: Keep homeschooling the ones who feel confident with it, keep the community and world safer until there is cure for the virus.


Homeschooling I have to say could have been a more enjoyable experience if organisers worked with common sense.

I many times wondered how none of these qualified teachers in all those online meetings they must have had during Lockdown, could not have made possible to offer some recorded lessons explaining/teaching instead of just sending work and more work to be done.

Ideally homeschool should have an interactive class online, Zoom style, 1 hour in the morning or so where the ones with parental permission could show their image, if not, still attend, mute mode but able to listen the lesson etc. Interactive class with all able to ask questions talking or typing.

This is the closest feeling of being at school kids can experience, seeing their mates, teachers able to evaluate better the pupils’ progress and parents a bit relieved.

I hear families here and there claiming children have to go back to school because “they want to see their friends”. I’m sure not a big percentage of little ones are really keen on “going for learning but playing”. So Interactive classes would greatly do the trick.

Or simply get the teacher to record wee videos according to each days lesson explaining with examples so the child can then do the homework.

Overall I think teachers did great adapting to the situation and provided all type of resources and a variety of activities. However sometimes I felt like the inbox was totally full, kids needed a prior explanation and proper corrections. I’m sure everyone tried their best but when it comes to lessons children usually listen to the teachers more than their parents in some occasions. 

It was a bit of a madness at the beginning, Fair enough, neither teachers nor parents had experience on that. But it’s not rocket science: children needed the tools to do all the work asked, download the school apps, and no devices were provided! No matter if you are on a low or high income, COVID-19 does not differentiate- if there is something positive about it, for once, it’s that we are all equal on something… We are all vulnerable- Government/Schools should prioritise and support all families with the IT equipment required. 

Regarding Surveys available about Homeschooling  during that period I have to say they were pretty basic, no room for Feedback, mostly Closed questions with only answers Yes or No. Surveys are made to give as much accurate information as possible not answering what the researcher wants to hear.

Many ended up getting used to learning at home – I was impressed by the high standards of the subjects, topics, tasks and challenges my kids had to do – but the provision of a tablet/ipad/netbook was a must. 

On another note, where are the school books? Books of theory and practice, books as reference, where every lesson is explained and where kids can write, everything in one place.

Where were the handouts photocopied! I could not have stressed it enough when I had a chance, but our voice was not heard. Having work on paper would have definitely made things much easier.

Even before lockdown the amount of time young people spent on screens was a big concern. Homeschool required far too many hours online. There should be more research on this and frequent visits to the opticians once they are reopen. That’s why I suggest to go back to basics and ask schools to provide Books. From now on, more than ever children need extra learning to catch up and school books are the best tool to use at home at any time. 

And far more outrageous than it may sound, the government should consider paying parents for teaching at home. At the end of the day, they are the ones who really go extra mile, multitasking and taking away the job of different members of school staff. By keeping homeschooling; there would be less students in the building and less potential cases of new Coronavirus.

It is a dream world for many parents having the children back to School full time, myself included, but let’s never experiment with them. They are kids, not guinea pigs.

Thursday, 30th July marked six months since COVID-19 was first recognised as an issue of international concern.

A lot has changed in this time. Back in January, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency, there were fewer than 100 cases outside of China, and no deaths. Now, close to 17 million cases have been reported around the world, and more than 660,000 deaths.

Now, let’s face it pals. There is not magic wand to stop the virus yet. Once the first person gets infected in the school – pupil, teacher, cleaner, kitchen staff.. – What!? What are the procedures? Desinfect, close the building?  All who are in contact back home quarantine for 2 weeks, make their healthy families isolate.. 

The contagioun increases indoors, why do you think we are using masks in shops, public transport etc? a few people at a time and keeping distance? And now, all of a sudden, everyone inside one place, School, 5 days a week 6hours a day. Is it safe to do so? What is the point?

In my previous article published at the beginning of lockdown “No Panic Mate. Stay Safe & Enjoy the Break” I highlighted the importance of prevention better than cure by suggesting the Government to close the Schools down, as well as the UK has the privilege to react with much time as neighbours countries’ pandemic hit earlier. They are now going through a second dangerous wave. Is that what we want by reopening schools next week? 

I didn’t have the crystal ball then neither now but I could see all this coming.

More of Sindy Santos work here.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily shared by the Digital Sentinel.

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