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What you need to know about COVID-19: October 20, 2020
I am replying to suggestions by Tasia Gaudet in her letter (Too early for school, Sept. 19). I think that I might have a solution to the question of how to better protect our children from COVID-19.
I lived in Singapore for a number of years and because it is a fast-growing country, there were never enough schools or teachers for all the students.
As parents, we know that young children rise early and older students tend to want to sleep in until mid-morning.
The Singapore government set up a system where the younger half of the students in a school or high school were in class from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., five days a week. The older students started class at 3 p.m. and finished at 9 p.m.
Each student received a half-hour meal break and two recesses of 15 minutes for a total of five hours’ schooling per day. The time between 2 and 2:30 p.m. was for the younger students to leave school and the older students arrived between 2:30 and 3 p.m.
I find that this model may require more teachers and staff but overall, the number of students in any given classroom could be halved.
The younger and older students would not mingle during the 2 to 3 p.m. period as the busses with the older students could be directed to drop them off at the school gym between 2 and 2:30 p.m. The younger students could then board the same buses (after sanitization) from 2:30 to 3 p.m. This is only an estimate of time as I know personally that a school can empty in less than 10 minutes when the bell rings at the end of a school day. LOL. The cleaners would have at least a half-hour between classes to sanitize bathrooms and classrooms.
I find this method a better use of our schools, classrooms, cafeterias and staff, teachers, janitors/cleaners and busses/bus drivers and the threat of catching COVID-19 is much diminished for the students and staff.
This method could also be a money saver if set up as a permanent system. I know that the students would have a better quality of education with more one-on-one time with a teacher. Young children would have an extra hour in the afternoon to play and older students would get enough rest, have study time in the day at home when they are at their freshest and stay out of trouble in the evenings as they will be in school.