Coronavirus in Slovakia: Analysts described how schools could open

Education could start with smaller groups of pupils to ensure social distancing.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

School-leavers could return first, followed by schools for "frontline workers". That is how analysts of the Institute for Strategy and Analysis, an analytical unit at the Government’s Office, envision the reopening of schools following the anti-coronavirus measures.

Priority for graduating students

After schools re-open, instruction may take place in classes with just half the original number of students, to make sure they can maintain distance between themselves.

Analysts propose starting with students in their last year who are about to take their final exams.

It would also be useful, analysts say, to open schools for children of doctors, police officers, soldiers, and other professions working on the front line.

Distancing at school

Related story:Coronavirus might prompt a reform Slovakia's schools have needed for a long time Read more 

In this connection, authorities might want to consider prolonging the school year by two to three weeks in July. The school year normally lasts until the end of June in Slovakia.

In the additional weeks, students can learn the missed curriculum or practice it.

After schools re-open, education would be organised in half groups and pupils would sit farther away from each other. Maintaining other hygienic measures can limit the potential spread of the disease.

Lower preparedness of graduates and first-graders

ISA wrote that at pre-school age and in the first grade of primary schools, children develop skills they also need later in their academic life.

The current remote education cannot replace face-to-face education, the argued.

“This might result in the lower preparedness of this year's graduates in entering the labour market,” analysts wrote, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “The drop in the number of lessons may negatively influence the average results of students in younger years.”

They also said that school is not about memorising, but about increasing social interactions and taking up social skills.

Face-to-face education was suspended on March 16 due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Slovakia. Currently, remote education is primarily taking place through the Edupage website.

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