As Canadian schools plan for the new academic year in September, many parents are worried about what the school day will have to look like for kids, in order to keep them safe.
Across the country, from province to province, plans are still being formulated for models that could include staggering the attendance of students, mandatory protective gear, and a blended approach to online and in-person learning.
To get a sneak peek at how schools in other regions of the world that are already back have done it, we’ve scoured the Internet for images of school life under the new COVID-19 reality.
Here are some of the most interesting (and sometimes heartbreaking) solutions being implemented in schools across the globe:
At Takanedai Daisan elementary school in Funabashi, Japan, students in face masks clap along to a melody instead of singing during a music class. Hopefully they were singing on the inside.
Denmark’s North Zealand International School had younger kids respecting social distancing protocols on their daily walk with the help of a new rope. “The rope has spaced colour coded tape on it so the children are closest to their own group member and still walk with good distance to each other,” explained class teacher Jennifer Fagan Simon, who added that the walk was the favourite part of the students’ day.
At Ankara International Preschool and Kindergarten, in Turkey, which re-opened June 8, kids learned added some new steps to their morning routine, including temperature checks and sanitizing their hands, before entering the building.
Grade 10 students in New Delhi, India, who have neither internet access nor the means to buy electronic gadgets to attend online classes, have been studying in an open-air class. College student Satyendra Pal Shakya established the outdoor classroom ad hoc, since schools in the area have been closed since March.
New Zealand allowed students back on May 18, when lockdown measures eased. The country has had some of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world (to date, just 22) and been lauded for its success in flattening the curve.
Here at Laingholm Primary School, in Auckland, teachers hung up a “Welcome back” sign on the school gates, along with colourful balloons. New safety precautions include parents not being allowed onto the school grounds without an appointment, water fountains being shut off, and hand sanitizing stations being set up in every classroom. Teachers will also start classes back by teaching the concept of “ensuring everyone has room to breathe” to help students practice physical distancing.
Kids at a primary school in Hangzhou, in East China, learned how to keep a safe distance between themselves by making hats inspired by the historic headgear of Song dynasty officials.
At Dajiae Elementary School in Taipei, Taiwan, students now have plastic cubicle-style barriers around their individual desks. (Gone are the days of effortlessly passing a note to your crush).
For kids in the South African elementary school Pinewoods Montessori, full visors are now de rigueur. At least mini hazmat suits aren’t mandatory ― yet.
Meanwhile in England, Wakefield Girls’ School got creative with a socially distanced indoor playtime on a rainy day, by dancing to a kids’ exercise video in the gym ― six feet apart, of course.
In the sunnier climes of France, the kids did get to play outdoors ― only each had to stay in their own little chalk square, to keep them at a safe (and heartbreaking) distance.
Hopefully, by the time Canada’s new academic year comes around, a vaccine will be well on the way. And until that happens, here’s hoping that school administrations and teachers keep coming up with creative solutions that let kids learn and socialize, while staying safe.
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