Ethiopia: The Fear of Sending Children to School in the Face of the Raging Pandemic


The goals for man in life is to go to school, learn properly, graduate successfully, obtain a job and get married - the ultimate objective. Marriage is the key to the extension of generation which would otherwise end up in generation extinction. This is the original plan and design of the Creator to fill the face of earth through human reproductive system by the instrumentality of the matrimonial union of a man and a wife. Children, for that matter, are the most precious gifts on which parents pride themselves. They are miraculously brought into existence, in most cases without any prior plan except that they happen to be the results of copulative activities of the loving father and mother.

Children, thus, as the love expression of the couples, are vicariously accorded the highest love and care, and they cannot be traded for anything in the world. Parents wish that their children get the best thing the world can offer. The first step to that end is providing education that qualifies them to cope with the challenges of the world and lead successful life. Such thought had been the order of the day until COVID-19 stepped in disrupting the order. Children have been forced to remain at home furthering their education on line which is rather dissatisfactory in poor countries like Ethiopia.

Several months have been counted since the pandemic began rocking the infrastructures including education, the royal route to the child's success. Now the government has decided to reopen the school while the pandemic is still raging. Of course it is doing all it can to facilitate the means to check the unrelenting spread of the virus.

Yet, the toll the pandemic takes is unprecedentedly rising, and the disobedience of people to strictly follow the simple rules of washing hands, keeping physical distance and wearing mask is disheartening. To this effect, in addition to the existing health facilities, the government has turned schools universities, several institutions, and the like are into quarantines in an effort to make the pandemic short-lived.

Yet, the situation is not budging and the parents worry that sending their children to school could increase the risk of COVID-19 among children and family members. The issue is rather intriguing; while keeping children at home to pursue their education on line. Yet, children who do not return to school in person may experience disruptions in their education. The families, too, simply don't have a choice because they need to go to work to provide for their children. The situation is the choice between fire and deep blue, an impossible choice.

To facilitate the positive start, all regions across the country are working with educators to develop plans to safely open school. If at all the children have to go back to school, parents out of desperation, put forward different wise suggestions of measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure risk at school. They are as follows: daily temperature screens of students - requiring testing of children if a classmate tests positive for COVID-19 - decreasing the number of children on taxis or buses - alternating arrival and pick up times - children to eat meals in classrooms rather than dining hall under strict supervision of the teachers - random weekly COVID-19 testing for staff -and the children.

On the other hand, who knows, some parents could opt for sending their children to school if they believe someone in their home has a condition that increases the risk of a severe COVID-19 infection. Many feel that the in-person school experience is best for their kids. They even think that if the schools decide to open, then that will mean we are trending in a favorable direction as far as the virus is concerned.

Along with this, if worse comes to worst, the parents, as their last option, must trust the local school districts to make the best decision based on their staff/cleaning/knowledge of the situation. Staff, of all, should selflessly care for the young people entrusted to them by parents. In such a trying situation they should be ready to save the students no matter what.

Parents would likely reconsider sending their children based on the safety strategies implemented in schools. With all the encouragement made, there is still suspicion on the part of the parents; they are less likely to trust promotional efforts by the government. From what has been witnessed, commitments are not lasting; during the inception period coronavirus, all fitfully did what they could to carry out the preventive measures. But that soon died out and people returned to their normal life defying the dissuasion constantly aired.

Parents express a lot of uncertainty regarding their plans for school attendance. Many are waiting to see how schools address safety and how the pandemic evolves. It's very likely that parents' views and plans will change as new information becomes available. As the time of school reopening draws closer, to send a child to school causes anxiety and confusion for parents.

Even if it is a must to plan to send, some might delay their children from sending with the pretext of social and emotional readiness of the child. In this case, demonstrating appropriate social skills, such as sharing and taking turns and handling the emotional demands of the school environment is the main concern of the parents. Thus, many parents around the country are being faced with deciding whether or not to have their children return to school for the upcoming school year.

For parents who suffer from significant anxiety, this can be a very difficult decision. The last thing any parent wants is to make a decision that won't be in their child's best interest, or that causes the child to be exposed to the coronavirus. As a parent, how can you deal with the anxiety that this situation creates? Remember: You can't know what the "right" decision is if you could see into the future, you would know what would happen to your child if you send him back to school. Unfortunately, this is something no one can know.

Therefore, the question about whether to send your child back to school or not doesn't have a correct answer. All one can do is make the best decision possible with the information that's currently available. This involves thinking through the advantages and risks of each option - keeping your kid(s) at home vs. having them return to school. Anxiety often predisposes us toward thinking about just one option and how it might go wrong. Try to counter that by thinking through both sides.

Consider both the advantages and risks of sending your kids back to school. If your child or children return to school, they'll have the social advantages of being around their peers. Most of all, parents also, think about the risk mitigation measures being taken by the school. Are they implementing social distancing for the students? Will they have students and teachers wear masks, or avoid crowded sports gathering and dining hall? What are their policies if a student or as staff member tests positive for the coronavirus?

Will schools implement policies that are likely to be very effective at reducing the risk of virus transmission? What are the advantages and risks of keeping your kids at home? Of course, the main advantage of having your children at home is that you can exercise more control over who they come into contact with. This can reduce their risk of coronavirus exposure. This may offer you some peace of mind, especially if you have elderly or medically vulnerable family members at home.

One particularly effective anxiety management strategy is to make sure your worries are as factually informed as possible. For example, if you're worried about getting a brain tumor, it's good to know how statistically likely that is; this knowledge can help you control your anxiety if you let it impact your thought process.

Similarly, regarding kids and school, it makes sense to assess risk based on whether your local area and region are currently in an outbreak or not. Coronavirus risk at your child's school depends in part on how the school manages things but depends even more on the proportion of infected persons in the community. If you strive to take all these factors into account, you'll make the decision that's best for your family without letting anxiety drive the process. Be on your guard!

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