Schools

Politics • American • US
Chicago Public Schools will reopen online only in September
Lincoln Park High School, Chicago, IL, USA
Lincoln Park High School, Chicago, IL, USA Credit: Kseferovic

Public schools in Chicago will start the coming academic year remote-only, meaning all classes will be held online for all students from September to at least November 9. The situation will be reevaluated then whether a hybrid learning model can be implemented. The decision came just a day after the Chicago Teachers Union prepared for a strike over school safety and the demand for remote learning.

"As a district, we value parent feedback and we cannot overlook that a large percentage of parents have indicated they do not feel comfortable sending their students to school under a hybrid model for the start of the school year," so Janice K. Jackson, CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

Education • School Education
Mongomery County (Md) closes schools for in-person classes, including Barron Trump's private school
President Donald J. Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, walk across the South Lawn of the White House Sunday.
President Donald J. Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, walk across the South Lawn of the White House Sunday. Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

On Friday, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles ordered schools to remain closed for in-person classes until at least October 1. Among those schools affected is Barron Trump's Maryland private school.

"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data. At this point the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers," so Gayles in a news release on Friday.

On Monday, Donald J. Trump again called for schools to reopen despite high numbers of Covid-19 infections. "Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!," Trump tweeted.

Politics • African
Namibia: Rise of coronavirus cases, schools ordered to close again
Hage Gottfried Geingob
Hage Gottfried Geingob Credit: Kremlin (Public Domain)

Namibia is reporting rising numbers of Coronavirus infections, recording 2129 cases on Saturday. To curb the spread of the virus, schools will close again on August 4th for 28 days. Namibian President Hage Geingob said this was a necessary move to "eliminate the risks associated with the spread of the virus." Public gatherings will be reduced from 250 to 100 people and liquor will not be served at bars or taverns.

Politics • American • US
CDC issues statement on the "Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall"
CDC issues statement on the "Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall"
Credit: unsplash.com/Marcelo Cidrack

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a call to reopen schools, two weeks after President Trump called the agency's previous recommendations on the reopening of school's "very tough and expensive."

"Reopening schools creates opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets — our children — while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families," so the CDC's statement published on Thursday.

The statement further states that " best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children," and lists the benefits of in-person attendance.

Politics • African
South Africa: Schools to close again over Coronavirus surge
School children from KwaMangqakaza Primary School receiving school uniforms that were donated by a good Samaritan. South African schools are expected to begin a phased re-opening from the 1st of June 2020.
School children from KwaMangqakaza Primary School receiving school uniforms that were donated by a good Samaritan. South African schools are expected to begin a phased re-opening from the 1st of June 2020. Credit: Khethukuthula Mbonambi / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Most of South African public schools will close again for a month. The schools year will be extended into 2021, affecting over 14 million pupils. The country has reported over 400,000 cases in total and has seen rising Coronavirus infections.

President Ramaphose said on Thursday: "We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed during a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections. I am aware that this arrangement that I’ve just announced will disappoint many learners who want to be back at school and may cause inconvenience and difficulty for many families who need to make alternative child care arrangements. We ask you to do this because we believe it is important to ensure that schools do not become sites of transmission at a time when infections are rising fast."

Politics • American • US
"Science should not stand in the way" of reopening schools says White House Press Secretary
"Science should not stand in the way" of reopening schools says White House Press Secretary
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

During Thursday's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that "the science should not stand in the way" of reopening schools. President Trump insists on opening schools, "and when he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend, each and every day at their school."

McEnany states that the United States is the "outlier" as schools in the Western world and their peer nations are reopening and claims that "science is on our side here".

Politics • American • US
Pelosi criticised reopening of schools, says Trump is "messing with the health of our children
Nancy Pelosi e union's annual Legislative Conference the union's annual Legislative Conference, February 2020
Nancy Pelosi e union's annual Legislative Conference the union's annual Legislative Conference, February 2020 Credit: AFGE / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi heavily criticised the Trump administration for its demand to reopen schools this fall, calling it "malfeasance and dereliction of duty." Pelosi called for the CDC guidelines for reopening schools to be mandatory rather than flexible.

"The president and his administration are messing with the health of our children. We all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do, parents do and children do. But they must go back safely," so Pelosi.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
10,000 families in the United Kingdom will receive free internet access to help pupils with online studies
10,000 families in the United Kingdom will receive free internet access to help pupils with online studies
Credit: unsplash.com / Glenn Carstens-Peters

To combat inequality and disadvantages within pupils as they are forced to study remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, the telecommunication provider BT has announced that 10,000 families in the United Kingdom will receive vouchers for internet access for half a year. The Department of Education will distribute these vouchers to families as School Standards Minister Nick Gibb stated that the goal is to "make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus".

Politics • African
South Africa: Schools have now reopened
Minister Angie Motshekga briefs media
Minister Angie Motshekga briefs media Credit: GovernmentZA (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

South African schools reopened on Monday. It was the first day of school for students of primary and secondary schools in over a month. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that schools should not resume if they are not ready to do so, but 95% of primary and secondary schools did reopen.

Politics • African
South Africa: School reopening postponed by a week

South African schools were scheduled to open on Monday, June 1st. The Department of Basic Education now announced the reopening will be postponed by a week. The additional week is to be used for staff and teachers to acquaint themselves with the new safety guidelines.

Politics • Asian
South Korea closes schools days after reopening

More than 500 schools in South Korea closed just days after they reopened, due to a new spike in virus cases. Thousands of students had returned to school earlier on Wednesday, as the country began easing virus restrictions.

The chairman of the National Association of Parents for True Education Na Myung-joo said:  "Except for the lower grades of elementary schools and kindergarteners who are in urgent need of emergency care services, and high school seniors ahead of the national college entrance exam, it will be safe for the rest of the students to conduct remote classes for the time being.".

Politics • African
South African schools reopen as of June 1st
Trafalgar High School, Cape Town, South Africa
Trafalgar High School, Cape Town, South Africa Credit: HelenOnline / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Starting with Grades 7 and 12 and small schools, the reopening process of the educational sector has started in South Africa. Minister Angie Motshekga urged schools to follow safety protocols which will be provided to students, teachers and other staff. The National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet is also working with the Department of Social Development to help with "the needs of learners with disabilities and those in special schools [...] to ensure that no child is compromised".

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Up to 1500 English primary schools set to refuse wider opening on June 1st

The UK government's directive to reopen schools has been met with significant resistance from councils and schools. So far 18 councils who are responsible for around 1500 maintained schools have stated that they will not enforce reopening upon their primaries. More are expected to join the growing number today (Wed 20th May), with others leaving it to the individual schools to decide.

The deputy chief scientific advisor Dame Angela Mclean suggests that effective contact tracing is necessary before any changes are made to the lockdown, which essentially adds a sixth test to the five already set by government needed to be met before restrictions are reduced.