STUDENT ESSAY: The reasons we went back to school
A lot of students and their parents have asked the question: why did schools open again instead of doing online learning until this pandemic is over?
There are many answers to this question. One of the main reasons was to give students the socialization and personal experiences that help them learn and grow.
As well, there are many students who don’t have access to good internet service or any internet at all. It was necessary to help these students get back into a learning atmosphere.
The school re-opening also helped families whose parents needed to work and could not stay home to be teachers.
Before the schools re-opened, the school boards, schools, and governments worked together to make sure safety plans were in place to protect the students and staff the best they could. This includes highly increased health and safety rules and expectations.
It is mandatory for students in Grade 4 through Grade 12 to wear masks; from Kindergarten to Grade 3, it isn’t mandatory, however they are encouraged to do so.
In elementary schools, classes are put in cohort. This is like a school day “bubble” and the students must stay with the same class throughout the whole day.
Secondary schools from Grade 9 to Grade 12 have timetables that will limit their contact with others; 70 per cent of students will have a combination of online and at school learning. There will be around 15 students in each class.
Online schooling will have secondary school students who will have a curriculum-linked workday, so they can have meetings with their teachers and still communicate with students in their class.
Other precautions being taken include self-screening before entering the school, hand washing every 30 minutes, hand sanitizing before exiting or entering a room or building, and of course wearing masks. While not mandatory, added safety from wearing goggles and face shields is encouraged.
No longer are visitors allowed in schools with parents needing to call ahead or meet at pre-determined pick-up locations at set times.
As well, if a student or staff member begins feeling sick, they are required to separate from others and either go home or be picked-up as soon as possible.
So far, the precautions being taken in Muskoka schools have been successful in protecting the students and staff from a COVID-19 outbreak. If the safety rules and procedures continue to be followed, the good results should continue.
By Koreelynn Fisher, a Muskoka Unlimited media co-op student from Huntsville High School