Will Pandemic Regulations Mean a New Form of Education?
By Bob Branco
June 12, 2020
I have heard rumors about what might happen when children finally return to school after the Coronavirus lock down. Personally, I am concerned. With all the new rules that teachers and principals will be required to follow, it’s going to take valuable time away from why children are in school to begin with. Is Johnny wearing his mask? Is Sally’s desk too close to Tommy’s? Did Bobby spit on the floor? He might be a virus carrier. Can parents take some of the kids to school later in the day in order to avoid crowds?
There will be so much emphasis on all of these new regulations that I wonder how much time there will be for actual educating. My question is obvious. When will there be time for learning? There will be too much else to worry about.
While I understand why some of these changes need to happen in the classroom as a direct result of the Coronavirus, there is one area where I wish teachers the best of luck. If you are not a teacher, let’s pretend for the moment that you are. Imagine forcing 25 first graders to wear a mask during the entire school day. Can you honestly guarantee me that you will get full cooperation? I will answer you before you answer me. No, you won’t. You will have several uncooperative children. The masks will make these children feel very uncomfortable. The children will complain about not being able to breathe, or that they are too hot and might pass out. They will be so busy bothering you that your teaching time will be greatly diminished. Meanwhile, these kids are supposed to be in school to learn. Imagine this sequence: “Children, today we are going to learn our time tables. Johnny, put on your mask. Let’s have a spelling test. Everyone, please face in the same direction and don’t turn around! Sally, Bobby, I see your heads are turned. Johnny, stop your whining, you can breathe. Class, let’s write a poem. Timmy, stop coughing, you need to go to the nurse and get tested. Sally, don’t spit. Johnny, you are 5 feet away from Tammy. Move your desk.”
I have spoken to two mothers who have already expressed their desire to home-school their children should the public school system force them to wear masks all day. There is absolutely no way these mothers will even think of sending their kids to school with that mandate.
How will these new pandemic regulations affect the future of education? I’d really like to know, but I get the feeling that unless there is a lot of advanced preparation for major changes, there will be a struggle to fulfill all the educational requirements that we grew up with. There wouldn’t be time. Everything will be about the pandemic rules, causing major distractions that previous generations never had to deal with. I am not suggesting that the pandemic rules are not necessary. Perhaps they are. Therefore, we may have to rethink how we provide education moving forward. Now is the time to start. The clock is ticking on our youngsters and their learning curves.
Is distance learning a viable option? I don’t know. There are too many problems with it. Not all households have the right technology for this type of learning, even though it’s a lot safer right now.