The struggle to keep schools open in Switzerland despite high Covid-19 numbers
With an increasing number of teachers and whole classes in quarantine, schools are recurring to partial home-schooling for affected classes and classroom teaching for the rest of the students. One problem is that unless the whole class is in quarantine, teachers will not provide online learning or tutoring for single students who are sick or in quarantine. Another issue is who is affected by quarantine? The student alone, his parents and siblings? In some schools, one parent is required to stay home with a child in quarantine while the other parent is allowed to work. In other schools, siblings may continue to attend school as long as the quarantined child is symptom-free.
According to an article by the Swiss newspaper NZZ, while the current situation is far from ideal, schools and educational authorities are eager to avoid another full-blown school lockdown. Schools and educational departments alike argue that the spring lockdown disproportionally affected students from disadvantaged backgrounds and that they want to avoid widening the attainment gap even more.
Expat children are disproportionally affected
For students who do not habitually speak the classroom language at home or who are still trying to master German or the other national languages, another school closure could arguably have a very detrimental effect. These students benefit enormously from immersion into the classroom and social contacts with native speakers. Online learning is not enough of a substitute to compensate for learning opportunities in the classroom.
Also, since the closures also affect after school activities, students will even have less opportunity to practice their language skills.
However, with Covid numbers still on the rise in Switzerland, it is too early to discount future school closures.
Do you need more information about how Covid-19 affects teaching in Switzerland?
Read my blog on teaching in times of Covid: https://livingswitzerland.ch/blog/