Schools were some of the first places to close as governments around the world started to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in some countries, they’ve already started to open up again. But as kids head back into schools (famously germ-infested places) – parents and teachers are faced with a new dilemma: how do you keep kids apart?
So far, there is minimal evidence to suggest that children can be severely affected by Covid-19. In addition to the fact that getting children back into schools would ease the burden on working parents, this has led governments that are starting to ease their lockdowns to start sending some kids back to school.
Authorities in countries where schools are reopening have guidelines about how best to make sure that schools don’t become a source of Covid-19 transmission within communities.
Dropping off kids at staggered times, and they aren’t allowed into the school. Schools have more handwashing facilities, and surfaces and toys are cleaned twice a day.
Depending on their age, children were made to socialise in groups of three or six – older children could socialise in groups of six – and at many schools, white lines, smiley faces and other markings were used to mark out 2 metres. Children also aren’t allowed to bring in toys from home either, and classes had a maximum capacity of 15 students.
Denmark has also reopened schools – not just for children in kindergarten, but also children in the first five years of school. Children are encouraged to play at a respectful distance from each other, and have staggered playtime, and are reminded to wash their hands and sanitize as they come indoors. In some schools, individual desks have been brought in from classrooms which are being used, so that children don’t have to share tables. There is roughly one teacher to every 10 students, and children are being asked to do classes outside – with marquees – as much as possible.
They’ve also recommended 2 metres between tables as well as 6 square metres per child. Surfaces like door handles, taps, and tables are expected to be disinfected twice a day.
In both Denmark and Norway (as well as Iceland and Sweden, neither of which actually closed primary schools), young children have been the first to go back. Although they’re the age group that’s most likely to touch everything they possibly can, there’s little evidence to suggest that children face severe health consequences as a result of Covid-19.
For students around China, other provisions have been put into place – such as making masks compulsory, and installing thermal imaging cameras around schools so that children have their temperature taken as they head into buildings. In one primary school in Hangzhou, an eastern region of China, students were made to wear “one-metre” hats – which had a piece of plastic extending out from either side of their head – to maintain an appropriate social distance.
'First grade primary school students resume classes in Hangzhou, China. It is interesting to observe that all of them are wearing specially-designed hats, which help them to keep the 1-2 meters social distance.'— t (@myetcetera) April 26, 2020
Source: https://t.co/9VxMj9YXOP pic.twitter.com/RchMHC4G8E
Schools in China after their lockdown is lifted. This might also be the new norm around the world. pic.twitter.com/g5L3xwHx9o— Toon Seri Anthraxxxx (@anthraxxxx) April 22, 2020
These measures are more intensive than the measures put in place elsewhere, which haven’t included infrared imaging or compulsory mask-wearing in the same way.
However, schools in China have reopened for all ages, not just for kindergartners or kids who are in primary school.
Similarly, in Taiwan, students and staff wear masks and have to undergo security measures when they get to school. Windows and air vents in classrooms have been opened up, and any schools with two or more confirmed Covid-19 cases must close.
A school in Taipei the capital of #Taiwan has started dividers during lunch to protect students from #coronavirus.— Goran Shakhawan (@GoranShakhawan) April 29, 2020
The East #Asian country has only confirmed 500 cases with 6 deaths. pic.twitter.com/AP2NgWUA6n
Gotta say Taiwan do the great job for the covid 19~ everything as usual just need to wear mask. Kids goes to school , ppl go work as noraml… I’m glad I’m in Taiwan 😀 pic.twitter.com/uQTbXYkvhF— Natalie w. Lee 唯 (@weirdswei) April 26, 2020
In other countries, schools will start to reopen soon, on a staggered basis. In Germany, which is split into different regions with their own governments, some regions will be reopening schools on the 4 May, with students who are set to take exams or graduate being able to go back to school in regions like Berlin.
Children in primary school will also be allowed back into school in those regions. However, schools have remained open for the children of essential workers – in these schools – and social distancing measures like those in Norway, have been put in place.
Culled from Independent Uk