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Returning to in-person learning: How schools are trying to keep students safe

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Students return to schools on Wednesday as in-class education resumed throughout the Kingdom. (Ameer Khalifa/Jordan News)
AMMAN — After a year and a half, due to the coronavirus pandemic, students returned on September 1 to in-person education. However, in order for students and teachers to safely return to face-to-face teaching, the Ministry of Health has issued a number of procedures that must be followed to ensure everyone’s safety.اضافة اعلان

The following are instructions the ministry has issued:

- Wear the mask correctly, covering the nose and mouth.
- Wash hands with soap and water regularly for 20 seconds.
- Avoid shaking hands and kissing in meetings.
- Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
- Dispose of used tissues safely.
- Avoid direct contact with any suspected or confirmed case.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with hands after touching  surfaces.
- Eat healthy foods rich in vitamin C to strengthen the immune system.
- Avoid using the same cup, mug, or bowl for more than one person.

During a tour of a number of schools Jordan News had the opportunity to visit in the first few days since their reopening, administrators were keen to stress that all the necessary measures were being implemented.

The specific procedures for implementing the ministry’s measures varied from school to school. In some cases, schools no longer allow students to gather in the schoolyard before the beginning of the day and canceling certain sports events that result in students congregating. In other cases, classrooms have been rearranged and desks moved to ensure a distance of one meter between students.

School administrators stressed the importance of maintaining open lines of communication, encouraging students and parents to inform the school of any contact with suspected infections.

Furthermore, students are encouraged to ask any questions or raise any concerns they have relating to possible symptoms they themselves may have, and in the event they present symptoms of COVID-19, that it is important that they quarantine.

Preventative measures and coronavirus awareness are being incorporated into the everyday lessons and activities of the school, administrators underlined, explaining to Jordan News that the content and activities were tailored to every age group, to ensure they are effective and appropriate.

In the event of an outbreak

One of the most important points school officials highlighted was their institutions’ preparations to continue students’ education in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 at the school. The processes in place include e-learning strategies; the selection of reading materials and exercises that can be done at home; broadcasts via radio, television, or podcast of educational content; assigning teachers to conduct daily or weekly follow ups with students; and reviewing or developing strategies for addressing distance education.

A number of students interviewed by Jordan News were quick to point out the importance of wearing masks, with one student saying that they are “to protect ourselves and the people around us.”

Mask mandates

For masks to be as effective as possible, students, teachers, and staff must wear a well-fitting mask consistently and correctly, school officials said. Everyone over the age of two must wear their masks indoors at all times if they have not been fully vaccinated.

Masks must be worn inside the school environment, including in classrooms, buses, and bathrooms. In the cafeteria, where it is necessary for students to remove their masks to eat and drink, distance has to be maintained between them.

In the event a student has exceptional circumstances that mean they are unable to wear masks, schools isolate these children from their peers and handled on a case-by-case basis to ensure a safe academic environment for everyone involved.

Administrators told Jordan News that all their teachers were fully vaccinated in anticipation of the approaching school year, and many of the schools offer free, regular tests for both students and staff. They added that all COVID-related plans will be shared with parents.

They concluded by stressing that schools are doing their best to ensure the continuation of face-to-face education, and that maintaining preventative measures is the most effective way to do so and avoid a return to distance learning.

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