aLIVE: Issues of Students and Children Who Are Back to School During the Pandemic

After one month of schooling according to the new models adopted by the Ministry of Education for 2020-2021, we can summarise the first results

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mama.md
13 January 2021

Live at aLIVE show, Viorica Cojocaru – Inclusive Education Specialist CCF Moldova and Virginia Rusnac – Director of the Republican Centre for Psycho-pedagogical Support, MECR, discussed about the challenges faced by students, parents and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘This year, the Ministry of Education has proposed seven models for the organisation of the education process in schools. So emphasis is put now on the return of children and teachers to schools, as face-to-face learning is one of the most efficient methods’, said Virginia Rusnac.

The Ministry of Education monitors closely the situation in the country and, for this reason, the shift to the traditional education format takes place taking into account the epidemiological situation in each particular district. 

As Virginia Rusnac mentioned, all changes are discussed with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection, as well as at school level – with teachers, parents and students: 

‘We can already see new rules introduced in particular schools – the social distancing between students is reduced from 1.5 m to 1 m. The length of a lesson was extended to 45 minutes’.

Professionals are worried by the increasing number of infection cases throughout the country, and also by the fact that pupils are falling behind the school curriculum. The COVID-19 situation may continue for a very long period, according to WHO. 

Experts think that we should adapt to the reality: ‘Yes, the number of infection cases is increasing, but all prescribed measures are observed in schools. Moreover, the share of infections proves that the schools are not a source of infection’.

Currently, the experts are alarmed by the psychological difficulties faced by teachers, students and parents during the pandemic.

The main issue faced nowadays by teachers is the burnout. The heavy workload, new teaching tools that had to be studied and adapted on a tight schedule, new working conditions – all these affect the teachers’ emotional state. 

The teachers need support. In this respect, the Ministry of Education launched a hot line that teachers could call and opened psychological support centres in districts.

As regard students and parents, the return to schools brought new issues: stigmatisation of sick children or of those who already recovered from COVID-19, parental overprotection in some cases, total disregard for others’ safety, etc.

Experts say that in such cases it is important to disseminate information correctly. Teachers and parents should explain children why they have to wear masks, to wash their hands and to avoid touching their face with dirty hands, to keep distance, how the virus is transmitted. This will help to prevent the spreading of negative reactions, fears and prejudices among children and adults.

‘The Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Health, CCF and international partners have developed  a parents’ handbook. It provides answers to the most frequent questions’, stressed Viorica Cojocaru, who took part in the development of this material.

The handbook will help parents to understand better how the education process is taking place now, how to help the children during this period and how to build a healthy relationship with them. 

In addition, this document includes professionals’ recommendations on how to organise better children’s time for lessons and leisure time, how to help them cope with emotional issues during the pandemic.

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The  aLIVE project is a show produced by  Mama.md, a popular forum for women, and by the public organisation Forum.md. The project was launched with the support of UNICEF Moldova, USAID Moldova and WHO. This edition was prepared with the support of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of the Republic of Moldova.