The new academic year is expected to commence in September 2020 during the Phase 4 of the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Qatar. Coincidentally, this will only be a week late than the normal school opening in Qatar.
And for many working parents like us, sending our children to school before, while we are at work, are ideal situations. We work to earn a living, while they study to learn more at school. Then, kids will be home just in time when some parents (who work up to 1p or 2pm only) will be at home. Others who are working up to 5pm will have to hire a nanny or look for nurseries or childcare facilities at an additional cost – although the second alternative, considering the post-COVID situation, will still pose a risk of exposure with other kids.
Now that the situation will change the usual school proceedings, one of the main concerns is the virtual education setup while parents are at work. With some who already showing concerns on fixed tuition fees even though students will not use other school facilities, others simply find relief considering that they will save on transportation costs (if their kids are using school bus or private service).
However, some parents we know whose companies were affected by this pandemic still haven’t received their salaries, or will not be receiving any (if they’re on NO-WORK-NO-PAY situation) – even some have to sell their valuable possessions just to raise funds and meet the registration deadline. And while we are waiting for the announcement of school registration during the height of the pandemic in Qatar, many of us were surprised to receive a last minute notification – leaving distraught parents with less options, if not, none at all.
Additionally, some might need to consider having private tutors (if it will be allowed), or will have to hire a nanny to look after them during the sessions (to fix the internet connections and zoom application when necessary). And that entails additional cost if the situation will continue.
Acknowledging that virtual education is safer than attending a physical school, those who don’t have nannies will have to shoulder additional cost and worries (we still don’t know if schools have already considered the session schedules). Not to mention, a shorter period of classes will leave some parents doing other school lessons to their kids too (including the assignments).
Here in Qatar, a big percentage of families have both parents working on a daily basis. Lucky are those with stay-at-home parents who can look after their children on a full-time basis. Although the latter part of the school year 2019-2020 already gave us a glimpse of what will be the “new normal” for the school year 2020-2021, we were quite lucky to have our daughter’s ZOOM SESSIONS late in the afternoon. Well, if that will be the same, then it won’t be a problem for us… except that children will be left all by themselves while parents are at work.
But how can we cope up with another problem just after recovering from the pandemic? What can we do to keep our kids safe while at home? How are you dealing with the same concerns in your country? Share us your thoughts and we might have a follow-up of this post in the coming weeks.
The views and opinions of the writer are entirely his own. This post is a mere expression of thoughts and observations about important concerns in the community. With images from http://www.pexels.com