The most recent report from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM (see related story) says St. Maarten had 11 active COVID-19 clusters during the week of September 23-29. No fewer than seven of these were in education.
The latter must be a scary thought to thousands of parents but also school staffers. It seems fitting that this news comes out today, World Teachers Day, as if to remind of the sacrifices they make especially with the ongoing pandemic to stand before the island’s youth in a classroom every morning.
The very least the community should do in return is help ensure students adhere to the protocols put in place to protect themselves and others involved. Although individual rights are important, ultimately the general interest must have priority.
After all, local experience has taught that distant learning is far from ideal and disadvantages kids lacking suitable electronic devices, adequate Internet or appropriate study surroundings. Truth be told, there is nothing like face-to-face education, while a school setting with physical presence also promotes working in groups, dealing with peers and developing social skills.
These are things that can prove useful in “real” daily life, hardly a luxury for the new online generation.