What if we were allowed to go back to school?

It was an incredibly special day as we were finally going back to school after 89 days of staying at home. With the Covid-19 pandemic expected to last for a few years, yes, there would be a need at some point to consider re-opening our schools and kindergartens.

As I started to change into my school uniform, I suddenly realised that I had not worn it for an exceptionally long time.

It had also been such a long time since I woke up at 6am to get ready for school.

I asked my dad whether it was a good idea to go back to school. He did not answer, probably because he did not know.

In my opinion, I feel like we should not be going back to school so soon. Instead, we should continue with our online classes. But the ministry had decided that we should return to school.

I read from an article that the learning environment should be transformed to make self-directed learning a reality as this approach to teaching is inclusive and meets the needs of every student in a classroom. I could not agree more.

My mum packed some nice black noodles for me to eat during break-time in school as we are now advised to bring our own food from home.

As I sat in the back seat of my dad’s car, I looked outside the window and saw traffic building up. Not everyone was wearing a mask.

When we finally arrived at the school gate, I noticed that the school was much cleaner than it was before. I saw my friends at the corner and waved to them. I wished that I could run to them and hug them, but I could not do so as we had to practise social distancing.

When I walked into my classroom, I saw that only 17 tables were there. Then I remembered that only 17 people are allowed in one class.

Our tables were placed one meter apart. But if you were sitting in front, someone could accidentally sneeze on you, so I was glad that my place was all the way at the back of the class.

In front of me were my friends Xander, Dixie and Amanda. We could not really talk due to social distancing measures, so we just smiled at each other.

Schools should consider a gradual start-up of classes by starting with older students to establish a routine before introducing the younger students. This made me wonder why I was here in the school when we had not even tried it out yet with my older friends.

I tried my best not to drink too much water so that I would not have to use the toilet. But I couldn’t help it. I raised my hand for permission and went. On my way there, I spotted a caretaker coughing. Our headmaster was also walking around, blowing his nose. It made me wonder if everyone was sick.

While I was in the toilet, I tried not to touch anything. I quickly peed and went back to my class.

A few hours later, it was time for science class. We were learning about rocks but not everyone was really paying attention as some were doodling while others were reading comic books. I paid full attention because what was the point of coming to school and risking your life if you weren’t going to pay attention? You can doodle and read comics at home.

Soon after, it was lunch-time. I took out my noodles and started to eat them. While I ate, I looked around and noticed that other people were callously slurping their food and their droplets of saliva were all over. I thought it would be better to eat your food slowly rather than slurping it all up. But I kept my thoughts to myself as we were not allowed to speak to each other.

After a few classes, it was time for our parents to pick us up. Parents must fetch their children instead of delegating the task to our grandparents or other transporters.

As soon as I got into my mum’s car, I had to wash and sanitise my hands. When I arrived home, I put my bag outside and took out my homework. I immediately went to shower to reduce the risk to my family.

This was much more tiring than online lessons.

I hope that the government or the education ministry will decide to continue online classes again. Then it would be much safer and less troublesome. And I hope that everyone will stay safe during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Claris Lee, 10, is in Year 4. She thanks Dr Amar-Singh HSS and Dr Shyielathy Arummugam for their article on Covid 19 guide for schools.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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