Education in the Time of Pandemic: How Schools and Universities Reopen around the World

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak around the world, many countries, including Armenia, switched to distance learning. Now that the humanity seems to have adjusted to the situation, the educational institutions are gradually reopening with the start of the school year.

The academic year in Armenia started only in mid-September. In schools and universities, students participate in classes only wearing masks. Temperature is measured and hands are disinfected with a thermometer right at the entrance of the schools. In schools, students can be accompanied by no more than one person and meanwhile the attendant is not allowed to enter the school, except for students with special educational needs.

Outside Armenia, many countries have not only reopened schools and universities, but also found creative solutions to safety measures.

For example, to maintain social distance between students at Sunway University in Malaysia, cardboard “mannequins” with the images of famous people are placed in the classrooms. Among them are Albert Einstein, JK Rowling (the author of “Harry Potter”), Will Smith and others.

In China, The Ministry of Education has instructed population to do mandatory temperature measurement in schools through a special local program. Masks can be removed only during lunch in Chinese schools.  During classes, children are separated by glass or plastic partitions.

In one of the Japanese cities, in order to comply with the anti-pandemic rules, special plastic covering layers have been added on the children’s desks, so that the children do not  have direct contact with each other.

In Israeli schools, children over the age of 7 are required to wear masks in classrooms; children above the 4th grade need to wear masks everywhere and throughout the entire day.

Schools are free to decide how to fight the pandemic on their own in Estonia. The Ministries of Education and Health only recommend keeping one class in the same classroom during the day for as long as possible, setting shifts and other measures.

The regions of Ukraine are divided into categories, according to the number of infections: green, yellow, orange, or red. If the region appears in the “red zone” during the school year, a two-week quarantine will be announced in schools of this region. If a student or a teacher gets infected, the quarantine will be mandatory for the whole class or school, depending on the situation. 

And even though the conditions of reopening schools and universities are not the best thing to offer to the young generation, they serve the important goal of providing safety and knowledge at the same time! Education is a priority but we are not out of the woods yet, that is why we still need to wash our hands, wear masks and keep physical distance!

Written by Nellie Melkonyan