Most likely, after the winter break, students in grades 1-3 will return to school. They may not only finish distance learning during this time. What about the other students? When will they sit in school offices? We analyze the possible scenarios.

We talk to Jędrzej Witkowski, head of the Center for Civic Education, about what awaits students in the near future.

We do not have clear information from the Ministry of Education about when the children will return to school. We can conclude from what the Deputy Ministers and the Minister said in their interviews, as our interlocutor indicated at the beginning. The Ministry of Education and Science announced that it has prepared “five variables” for possible return to full-time education.

Back to school. The first rows from the first to the third. who is next?

The most likely scenario is that after the winter break, on January 18, grades 1-3 of primary school will return to full-time education, says Witkovsky. This was announced by the Prime Minister and confirmed by the Minister of Education, Przemislav Kazarnik. On the first Monday in January, Health Minister Adam Nidzelski spoke about it. He announced that if the number of infections remains at the 10,000 level, these classes will be returned to schools.

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– There is also talk in this context about screening tests for teachers to ensure that everything is done with the least possible exposure to infection with the Coronavirus. This is important because distance education is the most difficult for this group of students. The biggest gap is between what children at this stage can achieve in internal education and what they achieve in distance education. This is an important argument for their return to school as soon as possible, as soon as possible – CEO comments.

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Jędrzej Witkowski estimates that eighth graders and high school graduates may finish distance learning at the same time. – They are preparing for the exams. It would definitely be easier for them to stationery, ‘he notes.

End of full time study? Possible hybrid

A possible scenario, though difficult to implement, would be a permanent hybrid for all students – Witkowski continues. – Two weeks of studying at the school, and two weeks of distance learning, to reduce the number of people staying in the school building at the same time – he explains.

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In his opinion, it could also be offered alongside back to school in grades 1-3 – so younger students will have full-time lessons in this alternative, and grades 4-8, or high school – coeducational classes. There will be some way out of the situation, because we know from school administrators that maintaining a healthy system in schools where all students are is often impossible, he adds.

– Extension is also possible for all distance education. We must also be prepared for this, it all depends on the development of the epidemic – notes Jędrzej Witkowski.

Back to school. Lower priority group

At the present time, the least we hear from the ministry about the chances of students in grades 4-7 returning to school. Perhaps this means that these categories will remain in remote working mode for a longer period – says our interviewer.

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We are still talking about vaccinations. Some people suggest, perhaps, that stable education on a larger scale will not return until all the willing teachers are inoculated. The vaccination of breeders, according to the information provided by the Minister, may begin at the end of January and continue until February. If returning to school after these vaccinations is conditional on everyone returning to school, then it can be concluded that the distance education period will be longer, Witkovsky notes.

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More freedom in filmmakers’ hands

In the CEO’s view, this time the ministry “is thinking about what needs to be done to make returning to school conscious and safe for children, but also for teachers and school administrators”. Apparently, the conclusions were drawn from the fall, when illnesses and teacher absences, often even tens of percent of staff, put the system on the brink of paralysis. In this regard, autumn was more difficult in schools than in the spring, when the teachers were healthy, despite the big surprise with distance learning – he comments.

He stresses that regardless of the scenario presented after the winter break, it is important to increase the flexibility of directors’ actions. Managers must have more freedom than before to decide which option is best for their facility – fixed, hybrid, remote. Every school is different from each other – he confirms.

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Distance learning. Fixed Education Denture

– The current distance education works better than it did in the spring – it is better organized and more systematic, teaching methods have been adapted to this type of work, but it is still just a prosthetic for static education. He adds that it is much more difficult to ensure the teaching of all students, including those who need special support, it is difficult to form some competencies and explain complex issues, and it is difficult to maintain relationships between students.

We also see the process of deepening the deterioration of the students’ psychological and physical state. They have been largely deprived of relationships with their peers, living in high uncertainty and tension, and partially locked in their own homes. This is really a very serious problem. This is why it’s important to return to internships as soon as it gets safe – sums it up.

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