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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 23, 2020
When the Newfoundland and Labrador government came up with a re-opening plan for the economy, after COVID-19 struck, it was a phased-in approach. With physical distancing resulting in reduced capacity, and the proper personal protective equipment, the business community was eventually working again, with only minor hiccups.
My hope is that the same approach will be taken upon opening up schools across the province.
When re-opening bars, restaurants, salons, etc., strict health protocols were put in place. How can officials not treat schools the same?
The government is considering three scenarios for re-opening. Option 1 is having all students from kindergarten to Grade 12 attend full-time, five days per week. How can you have 20 or more students in a single classroom with proper distancing and prolonged exposure to each other not seen as a recipe for transferred infection?
When re-opening bars, restaurants, salons, etc., strict health protocols were put in place. How can officials not treat schools the same? You can’t have students returning, business as usual, with multiple bubbles combining.
In any experimental situation — and that’s what it is — shouldn’t you have test runs or small samples to gain essential data on how to proceed? We should be cautious upon full speed ahead and be aware of potential problems.
Option 2 is the wisest choice to consider. This is a hybrid model where attendance is split 50/50 — half the time in-class and the other half is virtual learning. This leads to a gradual progression to a successful outcome.
Option 3 is that all learning is done virtually. This choice has no interactions among students, where mental and social development must be supported. I strongly reject this option.
I don’t know if you agree with me, but I hope the government will choose the best option that will ensure student health and safety. Time is running out to make a decision. Make the right one.