african child with mask

While we live in times when humankind possesses the most advanced science and technology, a virus invisible to the naked eye massively disrupted economies, healthcare systems, and even education systems (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary) worldwide. According to UNESCO, an estimated 1.725 billion learners were affected as a result of school closures, representing about 99.9% of the world’s student population.

The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on the 29th of August, 2020 announced that all Tertiary Institutions in the state would reopen from the 14th of September, 2020 while Primary and Secondary schools would tentatively from the 21st of September, 2020. It is relieving to see that we are finally getting back to normal to a state of normalcy but now more than ever, we must remind ourselves and prioritize the issues most relevant to our society.

As school systems prepare to reopen, here’s how to create a safe and effective learning environment for everyone.

The first priority of every school system must be to reduce the virus-transmission rates and protect the health and safety of students and staff. School leaders at all levels must adopt strategies to reduce the level of transmission in their schools. To learn, children need to feel safe and supported. Without these conditions, the mind reverts to a focus on survival. Educators in low performing schools have long recognized the critical importance of providing a healthy safe, supportive classroom and school environment.

Here’s a guideline to help keep the learning environment safe.

For Students and Teachers

  • Wash your hands before Leaving home

  • Wash your hands on arrival at school

  • Wash your hands after using the toilet

  • Wash your hands after breaks and sporting activities

  • Wash your hands before eating any food

  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

For School Administrators

  • Provide Basins in the School Premises to ensure that students and teachers wash their hands frequently.

  • Limit the number of visitors to your school; parents, care-givers and drivers should drop students off at the school entrance

  • Ensure that teachers demonstrate to the students the proper way to cough or sneeze.

  • Clean and disinfect the school premises often.

  • Encourage sick students and teachers to stay home.

Remember that circumstances change and its best to be vigilant and to be ready to change course in the event of a resurgence.

Many educators (Parents and Teachers) stepped up and provided very innovative approaches in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic but it doesn’t end there. Now more than ever, Educators must be encouraged and provided with enough resources that will help foster more innovative actions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed vulnerabilities; it has also surfaced extraordinary human resourcefulness and potential. The decisions made today will have long-term consequences on the future of education. Let’s create a safe and effective learning environment for everyone.