In a matter of weeks, schools across the country will be reopening and welcoming students for the new school year. This comes on the heels of having been forced to close down schools some months ago as a direct result of the global pandemic, COVID-19.
Ironically, the inherent threats of this pandemic have not totally dissipated, but instead have proliferated. Notwithstanding that, we are about to embark on an experiment of incalculable proportions in opening schools come August 10.
This then begs the questions: is it a prudent decision to reopen schools? Are the schools and teachers aptly prepared and ready? How can this experiment be carried out, given that there is no clear rubric?
Admittedly, children across this country have been out of school for quite an inordinate amount of time. And thus, without a doubt, the prudent thing to do is to try our best to get them back into a school setting as soon as possible.
But is the time now? Are schools ready and prepared for this daunting phenomenon? Schools across the country are scrambling to be ready and to enact the proper policies and protocols in place along with the requisite materials and infrastructure.
But, for the most part, truth be told, schools simply are not ready and it is as good as a guess if they will be completely ready and aptly prepared come August 10.
Whether or not the schools are able to ready themselves, truth be told, the situation will be a very tense and fluid one. We are talking about a situation involving hundreds of students and teachers in close contact and utilizing shared spaces and a common ground. It will literally take only a spark, and pandemonium will spew!
Historically, schools have battled to contain the most rudimentary ailments such as tapeworms, the cold, the flu and head lice. Just imagine what they are going to be up against in these times and given this pandemic.
To put it clearly, schools across the country are gearing up for a massive experiment without being properly equipped with a clear rubric. This makes the task more daunting and challenging and susceptible to failures, if not even potential disaster. It truly is a very messy art lesson; a full contact P.E. class. This is because if what schools are going to embark on was a music lesson, the instructor is directing from afar and the musicians are all scrambling to read the chords.
Nonetheless, it is said that the children need to be back in school and to be fully engaged in learning. I pray that schools across the country will be adequately ready and aptly prepared for the task ahead. Hopefully, by August 10, a rubric for this experiment can be defined and if not, then I pray for God Almighty’s Hands to bless, cover, protect and sustain us!
God Bless Belize.
Rudolph A. Neal