Schools Reopening!!! Top 9 Priorities as Schools Reopen!


Schools Reopening!!!

Top 9 Priorities  as Schools Reopen!

The worst nightmare of our lives is slowly and gradually coming towards its end, number of cases coming down every day in India, vaccine launched and people being administered the vaccine shots, general public adapted to overall hygiene protocols, most of the places and services opened up, it is now time for the schools to reopen. A good number of SOPs circulated by the Government, CBSE Board and various other state boards, the schools are once again becoming LIVE - happening places. Though we are all happy about it, I am a little apprehensive of the way we are going to resume our working. Have we set our priorities about ‘What’ and ‘How’? Here are the top nine priorities…


#1. Expect, anticipate and adapt to change

One fact that we all must identify and accept is that post pandemic school culture and teaching – learning experiences are not going to be the same as pre pandemic. And we must never focus to achieve that. Much water has flown under the bridge. New normal and new adaptations will continue to evolve. We as schools must focus on continual adaptations over time rather than struggling to achieve the previous standards. A vision in to the futuristic society and the skills needed then must be the focus in schools of today.


#2. Focus on fostering Social connections and Emotional health of Students

 As schools we must remember that this generation of learners has survived a pandemic and they have come out stronger and resilient than before. In the race to cover and makeup for the lost academics, we must not overlook the success stories. You know, the survey reports world over suggest that 98% of the learners surveyed have missed their teachers and friends more than their academics. So as schools, initial few days we must invest into fostering and nurturing those connections again. Teachers must promote, share and listen to the stories of courage, hardships, pay cuts, work from home tensions, coping up – first hand from their students. They must build on their leanings of pandemic, reinforce them and build on the value of empathy, one of the core life skills to be a better human being.


#3. Establish Routine and Discipline with Patience

 Schools provide a structure and discipline to our children. Staying at home for so long with practically no or little schedule for the day has robbed our children of their habits and attitudes towards work. They may slog and delay work initially. We at schools have to understand the fact that it may take a fortnight or so to revive the right patterns and routines. So, plan to go easy with patience.

#4. Identify the Bigger Role the Schools play

Pandemic has proved that schools play a pivotal role beyond the teaching-learning experiences. They foster human connections and help learners develop social skills. The children have not missed the school buildings; they have missed the human interactions and feeling of belongingness with each other. Let everyone in the school ecosystem identify the fact and focus on developing and fostering healthy social skills.


#5. Invest in Teachers’ Training and Development

Pandemic has proved that the teachers kept schools alive though the campuses were closed. The way they adapted to the digital teaching tools is an evidence of their desire to Give. The teachers’ fraternity deserves a BIG SALUTE.

But we must remember that in the new normal all schools are going to continue blended learning. So, school leadership must invest in their trainings before they expect the best out of them. Teaching with the help of technology can be made more efficient, and more productive. Investment in their capacity building to harness their actual potential must be a top priority for school managements.


#6. Orientation and Implementation of NEP 2020 in a systematic manner

 NEP 2020 could not have come at a better time. With so much change forced on us, we have added responsibility to implement NEP 2020. Along with so much happening on every day basis and having experienced our resilience, nothing is now difficult for us. Let us focus on this aspect too. Training and building capacity of teachers and school leaders in the school eco system to implement NEP 2020 must be a conscious priority lest we stagger later.


#7. Build on the Trust lost with parents

Next priority that all schools must set up is to sincerely strive to  establish that trust with parents wherein they don’t just say that parents are our partners rather they must live this philosophy. The schools must realize the parents are the major stakeholders in the educational eco system. Children can be just a number to the few of the schools but to parents they are their whole world. What we witnessed in the initial few months into the pandemic in the name of school charges was actually the outburst of accumulated distrust over the years.

Let us collaborate with parents and involve and aware them about the major changes in school education (NEP 2020) in the times to come.


#8. Collaborate with other Schools in community

We have all seen how the world shrank and we came closer to each other through virtual meetings. We shared our stories of success and resilience to inspire each other. All schools must come out of that fear zone wherein their survival and functioning is based on the general incompetence and inefficiency of competitor schools. Collaboration and sharing best practices with each other strengthens the society and the nation at large.


#9. Follow Standard Safety and Precautions Measures

Last but not the least, let us all go strict on one aspect and that is standard safety and precautions measures as being released by the Government of India and various school boards. The recent MHRD guidelines can be found here. Let us resolve to keep our guards intact and contribute to keep the people around us safe. Let us have ample provision of sanitizers and soap & water available to our children in schools and monitor that they regularly wash their hands properly.  Actually this must be the top most priority because our survival as school depends on our children coming to school so that the school buildings are once again full of life and temples of real  learning.


Wishing all the best to all the schools!