Amid rising cases of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education has reopened schools for face-to-face interaction at all levels, with Grade Seven students returning to the classroom next week.
Many people are against this decision, and some have even gone so far as to call the Government, Minister of Education and staff of the Ministry heartless and uncaring. But looking at the bigger picture, how can a decision which would have a positive long-term impact be such a bad thing?
Yes, we know cases are rising, on Wednesday alone, over 700 positive cases were recorded in a 24-hour period. We should look at why this number is so high. What I can say with certainty is that this is not a result of schools being reopened last Monday.
During the Christmas season, despite several advisories to take precautionary measures and avoid social gatherings, there were a lot of parties across the country. When I say a lot, I mean every day in the month of December there was a celebration somewhere. It was as though COVID-19 had gone on vacation and it was business, well, in this case, partying as normal.
Now, it is not just the bars I am referring to, but there were also family gatherings. I am sure that children were present at these gatherings, and I am also sure that no one was wearing a mask or social distancing. Also, during the holidays, Main Street was packed with people visiting the many booths at the Christmas Village, or just taking a casual stroll to look at the pretty lights strung along the boulevard.
It was a COVID-19 hotspot, and like I mentioned earlier, no one seemed to care about the pandemic. Now that schools have reopened their doors to face-to-face learning, persons are against the decision. It makes me wonder why are parents so uncomfortable with sending their children to school with masks on and COVID-19 measures in place, but seem to have no problem with taking their children out to crowded places during the holiday season.
Do parents think that if they are present, their children wouldn’t contract the COVID-19? Do they think that if sent to school, teachers would go rogue and allow students to walk around without masks, and congregate?
If anything, teachers would ensure the students are protected and adhere to the measures. Parents need to work along with teachers to ensure children receive an education in a safe learning environment.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to work collaboratively if we are going to beat it.
Anna Maria Perriera