British schools closed in mid-March to all but the children of key workers. Schools have been operating by teaching pupils online. It is hard enough to superintend pupils when they are physically present. But try monitoring them when they are merely logged on. Humanities subjects, languages and maths can be taught online without much loss of teaching quality. But when it comes to the sciences, technology, art, music or PE it is almost impossible to teach properly. These subjects require a bit of hands on work.
The UK Government said, ‘we can beat coronavirus in 12 weeks.’ 15 June will be exactly 12 weeks since lockdown was instituted. In England schools are due to reopen on June 1. Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland are more circumspect despite having a lower per capita instance of coronavirus.
Pupils are missing out on socialising. Some are becoming obese by eating the usual amount but not exercising – not even walking to the bus stop. The lockdown has had a detrimental impact on children. They are the people least likely to contract COVID-19. If they catch it they are the least likely to succumb to it.
Teachers’ unions have thrown their hands up in horror at the idea of schools operating on campus again. Indeed, there are reasonable concerns for teachers who are high risk. Those who are nearing retirement age, pregnant or otherwise immune-compromised ought to be exempted from going back. However, the majority of teachers ought to be required to return to work in person.
Teaching online is an ersatz version of education. Pupils will be under-prepared for next year if schools do not start functioning normally. Surely it is right to reopen schools?
It is said that the only thing permanent is change. In these blog posts I reflect on how schools and universities transform education by inventing social trends and then embracing them whilst breaking with the past.
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