Should schools reopen in a hurry?

[ Cyriac SDB ]
This is a question everyone is asking these days, and there are answers for and against. Arguments are on both sides as well.
The country, and more especially our Land of the Rising Sun, is going through the high tide of Covid-19 with the arrival of outstation-Arunachalees and others and the curve rising higher and higher for the Northeast and us. At this point of time, thinking of life will be more pertinent than thinking of education. The city of New York, USA, has called off this scholastic year, and it is the same for some other places, as well.
The much-awaited opening up of religious spaces is not going to take place in our state as per the circular issued by the health department on Saturday. That’s indeed a wise decision if you value health and life above all else.
Arunachal would do well to keep in mind its vulnerable health infrastructure and challenging connectivity. If schools do open and children and young people, who hardly know
what social distancing is, get infected, the state would find it an uphill task to restore any semblance of normalcy, let alone flatten the Covid-19 curve. Hence, beware!
The state of Kerala, which has reached great heights of excellence in its combat with Covid-19, has started the scholastic year 2020-21 as usual on 1 June, but online! If we are to take any cue from the same, virtual learning is going to be the mantra, at least for this scholastic year, if not till 2022, as some experts opine.
If religious spaces, where people will be together for a maximum of one hour or so, cannot be opened up till June-end, should we not wait for some time more to open up educational institutions, where children and young people will be rubbing shoulders with each other for about four to six hours or so on a daily basis?
Just a day back the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in an interview said he had a hunch that the peak of Covid-19 cases would come up only in about two to three months. If we are to go by the opinions of such experts, and if we value life and consider it the most precious gift that god has given us, we need to protect it as best we can.
In the scenario we find ourselves in, education, despite being absolutely important, must wait a while. (The writer is Director, Childline Itanagar, and can be reached at [email protected])