by Heidi M. Pascual
COVID-19 Has Affected Our School System, Too
When COVID-19 attacked the world a few months back and kept humanity in confinement within their homes, we were all stunned, shocked, feeling
helpless, most times hopeless and fearful of this pandemic’s fatal blow on our communities. When we heard the news about thousands of people
getting infected everywhere, in countries rich or poor, then dying within days of contracting the “virus,” our governments started to close their
boundaries, isolating each community within their jurisdiction and imposing community quarantine to prevent people from getting in or getting out of
their homes.

One of the most affected areas during the pandemic is education. The school system has to close. Children have to be protected from COVID-19,
which has been claiming lives not by hundreds but by thousands. Early on, it has been recognized that the most vulnerable populations are the
elderly and the very young. As all of us may agree, the future of any nation largely depends on the youth of today; thus, the utmost need to protect
them from any harm, which COVID-19 surely brings. There is no question that this pandemic has brought humanity a challenge that seems
insurmountable, and as an important social concern, education tops the list considering every society’s basic requirement to continue its survival in
the future.

Because of the threat to life posed by possible exposure to COVID-19 when people get together in an enclosed space such as a classroom, the
school systems all over the world are in a quandary. What alternative learning systems should be adopted in response to this life-threatening
challenge? Several plans are now being considered -- homeschooling, online-only learning, moving school year dates, among others.

As a parent (and now a grandmother), I have decided there’s nothing to lose, but much to gain if I choose to NOT ALLOW my children (or
grandchildren) to physically go to school this school year. I cannot, in conscience, take the risk of exposing my loved ones to COVID-19, especially
since we are not sure who the asymptomatic folks are. I would prefer that they take online lessons if possible, or be homeschooled for a while. I
would contact the Department of Education and the school where our kids are enrolled last year, for an arrangement that would keep the kids at
home, supervised by their parents or grandparents, or relatives concerned enough to help kids navigate the present abnormal situation in all

As adults we have the responsibility to do the best we can to preserve and conserve our youth today. We are looking at additional work should we do
many of what the school system and professional teachers do as educators; but this will pay off handsomely because our children will be out of
harm’s way. COVID-19 is no joke, as we all know it now. More than 300 thousand people have been killed all over the world, and we definitely do not
wish our loved ones included in this statistic.

In preparation for this forthcoming additional “job,” I will encourage parents and grandparents to start educating ourselves about how to become
effective educators for kids at various levels. We have the opportunity not only to help our society prevent further spread of COVID-19 and ensure the
safety of our loved ones, but to also learn a new skill teaching, something we can even excel on and later consider as a career option.

Today, there is an opportunity to expand our technology know-how beyond emails and Facebook. Let us exercise our mental faculty by doing
research, deepening our knowledge base, and honing our parenting skills to train our kids and grandkids not only to continue learning new lessons
at their school levels, but more importantly, learning to cope and adjust to problematic situations such as real challenges posed by natural
disasters/calamities and epidemics/pandemics that threaten life on land, water, and air. As God’s creatures, we have the obligation to respect His
wish to make his creation grow, increase in number, and continue in perpetuity to glorify His name forever.