‘You need to open the schools now’

October 26, 2021 | 04:00 pm PT
With schools closed for months, many have become impatient with online learning while some think it's safe to wait a little more.

"The impact of school closures on a child’s wellbeing is significant. From learning loss, mental distress, exposure to violence and abuse, to missed school-based meals or reduced development of social skills, the consequences for children will be felt in their academic achievement and societal engagement as well as physical and mental health. It's important that children have an opportunity to socialize with their peers, to learn and to develop emotionally. Most parents in HCMC and Hanoi are (at least with one dose) vaccinated and cannot live with school closed any longer. Supermarket, playgrounds etc. are open. Children, parents and teachers meeting each other [in] uncontrolled outside campus! YOU NEED TO OPEN THE SCHOOLS NOW."


"Online learning works fine for 1:1 model. It can also work with a very small group. Once you start getting to 10 students, it starts to fall apart, particularly when we are talking about young students. VN right now expects to burden teachers with online classrooms managing 30-50 students. It's not feasible, and the problems reported were all very predictable. It is bizarre now how major cities like HCMC have opened up things but schools remain closed."


"The schools should be opened from November 1st. I see children are playing together in parks along with family members. One good test would be to get the education centers open first. Of course all precautions need to be taken and teachers double vaccinated. I also can't see primary school kids vaccinated in the next 6 to 8 months either. Time to work with Covid."


"Children are at very low risk of severe Covid infections, in fact much less than of the flu. Hence, wherever teachers and parents (and relatives living in the same household) are fully vaccinated, open and allow them to the schools! And offer hybrid online schooling for those kids whose parents are worried still for the next months. Only needs a parallel tablet and microphone for the teachers. Would also significantly boost parents' time and the economy.


Students attend a class at Thanh An Primary School in HCMCs Can Gio District, October 20, 2021. The school is the first to reopen amid the pandemic in HCMC while the rest is expect to follow suit early next year. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Students attend a class at Thanh An Primary School in HCMC's Can Gio District, October 20, 2021. The school is the first to reopen amid the pandemic in HCMC while the rest is expected to follow suit in early 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

But some people think it's not all bad and there's no need to rush.

"Schools and teachers who have adopted distance learning during this pandemic period are to be congratulated. Not because what is being provided is perfect, but because they are often attempting the impossible with poor resources and insufficient training in the art of online delivery. For older children and adults, an adjustment to online learning is a less significant step than for kindergarten and primary aged children, whose motivation and attention span may be limited. Nevertheless, we have moved a long way from the time distance students sat around a loud-speaking telephone to listen to their teacher to a more sophisticated, interactive, and technological learning environment."

Hank Duyverman

"For everyone that says open schools now, no one is suggesting home school lasts forever. It’s another 2 months until all adults can finish vaccinations, at least the 12+ kids can get vaccinated and for the number of daily cases drops even lower so it’s not continuously being spread back and forth in the community and other provinces as travel begins to open up a bit. Better to be safe for 2 more months than risk another shutdown which screws everyone over even more."


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