Safe Schools and COVID-19
In February 2020, we laid witness to what was supposed to be a once in a century pandemic as the coronavirus ran rampant across our nation. Nineteen months later, we have been forced to become used to the “new normal”, remaining unsure of the resolution of this ever changing virus. COVID has impacted our daily lives in a way we never imagined possible. Businesses shut down, employees were laid off, our economy suffered, even our entertainment industry came to a screeching halt. But nothing has had such a substantial impact on our nation’s future quite like the closing of schools and implementation of distance learning. With all of the obstacles at hand, teachers, administrators, parents, and students alike had to find a way to prioritize learning and safety simultaneously. This meant implementing a completely new way of education across the country, virtual learning. The adjustments to this new form of learning have not been easy for anyone, especially children.
School During COVID
As resilient as children are, they could not have prepared for the challenges that this pandemic has brought forth. School closures in 2020 did not only deprive students of classroom learning, it inhibited their ability to see friends, maintain connections with staff members, and participate in extracurricular activities. All of these forms of social isolation have impacted students physically, mentally, and emotionally. The absence of a structured school setting has disrupted the routine to which students have become accustomed, causing anxiety for many children and parents. Prolonged home confinement has placed constraints on student’s ability to collaborate and demonstrate creativity. This confinement has not only caused anxiety and uncertainty among children, but it has made children more clingy, attention seeking, and dependent on their parents. Because children were essentially forced to adjust to a whole new at-home routine, it has been increasingly difficult for many students to return to in-person learning and activities.
Going Back to School During COVID
Among the difficulties students have faced upon returning to schools, their inability to socially interact has been the most significant, according to teachers. Students have demonstrated more awkward social encounters and almost forget how to interact with one another, something that once came naturally to many children. Little things such as maintaining eye contact have fallen by the wayside. Although this is unfavorable, teachers have also observed some positive outcomes during this time of uncertainty. Implementation of social distancing rules has made children more obedient. Since the same rules are enforced at home and at school, children have been more likely to abide by them. This has been refreshing for teachers who continue to work hard to provide students with proper guidance and support while following CDC guidelines coronavirus reopening.
In-Person School and Student Safety
It has been essential for all of us to take steps to make this transition back to in-person learning as easy as possible, while ensuring safety. Wearing masks in classrooms and maintaining social distance are among the changes students have had to adjust to in order to stay healthy. However challenging these adjustments have been, education remains the utmost important. Here at AYA, we believe children are the future of our nation. Therefore, we prioritize our students’ physical and emotional well-being while continuing to offer top-level Islamic education. Through all of the unexpected twists and turns, we have maintained a sense of community. As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, we demonstrate unwavering dedication to our student’s safety and take pride in our ability to get through this together.