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    National Campaign for Return to Schools picks up tempo

    December 30, 2020

    Campaign organisers, virtual meeting propose solutions to ensure safe return to schools

    AMMAN — Parents and activists over the past two days intensified their calls on the government to reopen schools and nurseries next year for the second semester to ease the burden on them and their children.

    The National Campaign for the Return to Schools issued a statement urging the government to allow parents the choice either to choose between in-class education or distance learning method that has been applied since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year.

    The campaign also asked that the online learning platforms be kept for students who do not want to return to schools but are serious about continuing their education online.

    “Any delay in allowing students to physically attend schools might have its economic repercussions on everyone as a result of this pandemic,” said active campaign member Nadine Nimri.

    “Education is an essential process in society and is one of the most important social determinants of health,” Nimri told The Jordan Times.

    “There is no alternative to in-class education since it was verified that distance learning proved inefficient academically and educationally,” the campaign said in a statement.

    Returning to school is possible and safe under strict health protocol and physical distancing, the campaign organisers said.

    The campaign also called for the return of kindergartens and the first four basic grades at the beginning of the second semester, as this group [less than 10 years] is less vulnerable to infection and the ability to transmit infection, according to a statement provided to The Jordan Times by the campaign.

    The campaign also called for dividing students into groups and ensuring that they are not mixed with other groups.

    Other suggestions made by the campaign to secure a safe return to schools is to secure proper ventilation in classrooms and teachers’ rooms on a continuous basis.

    The campaign also called for designating special isolation rooms in each school that are allocated for any suspected or asymptomatic condition.

    Meanwhile, a delegation from the Coalition of Kindergarten and Private School Owners met with officials from the Central Bank of Jordan and the Banking Association of Jordan to explain the growing economic and social challenges facing these educational institutions due to the pandemic.

    During the meeting, which was held virtually with the support and coordination of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the delegation discussed key issues, including proposals to assist kindergarten owners and private schools financially, according to a statement provided to The Jordan Times by the coalition.

    The delegation also discussed ensuring continued coordination and communication with the Central Bank of Jordan and the Jordan Banking Association, and finding effective mechanisms to follow up on observations and issues related to the financing of this sector by banks and microfinance institutions in Jordan, according to the statement.

    The coalition’s financial demands include exemption, rescheduling, deferral of repayment of the debts of kindergarten holders and private schools, with direct financial aid, as well as government measures to ease pressures and financial obligations on them — rent, electricity and water bills, salaries of working staff, among others — according to the statement.

    It also includes the establishment of a fund focused on supporting kindergartens as a priority and then schools, especially after including them among the sectors most affected by the ongoing pandemic, the statement said.


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