Ditch in-person classes for online study: Hanoi school principals

On Sunday, the capital recorded more than 11,500 new Covid-19 cases in a single day, continuing the upward trend in infections over the past two weeks. Teachers and students were also among those infected, forcing schools to change their study schedules between online and offline.

Nguyen Thi Nhiep, principal of Yen Hoa High School in Cau Giay district, said nearly 200 students have tested positive for the coronavirus, while another 600 have been identified as close contacts. Running classes with such a high number of Covid-19 cases has been “extremely difficult”, she said.

Of the 40 classes in the school, about twenty had more students absent than present. As such, the school has allowed classes with more than half of infected students or close contacts to study online.

Maintaining in-person classes with only a few students is not the best policy, Nhiep said, adding that there aren’t enough teachers available anyway.

“We have tried to convince infected teachers to continue teaching if they are not too tired. Right now, even having enough staff to teach is already a challenge,” she said.

Nhiep said while the desire to allow students to return to school is real, the decision must be made based on current circumstances. If too many students can’t attend classes, everyone should just study online instead. By choosing to focus on a single method of teaching and studying, classes could be better managed, she argued.

Another principal of a primary school in Dong Anh district echoed Nhiep’s view, saying that while online studies aren’t as effective as in-person classes, they are at least better than classes. in person resulting in a coronavirus outbreak.

Hanoi schools are still trying to keep classes open despite the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the principal said.

“We have been teaching students online for the past two years. They may not be as effective as in-person classes, but they are still better than having a few students come to class while the others study. home,” he added. .

Dinh Thi Thu Hong, an education expert and elementary school teacher in the Gwinnett County district of Georgia, US, said she found it disconcerting to see schools in Hanoi having to bend over backwards in response to the surge. of Covid-19.

“I don’t know why the city continues to try to keep classes open, when many students are still studying online. This half-hearted step is not effective,” she said, suggesting that schools in Hanoi switches entirely to online study to limit infections.

An online and offline course approach would only be effective with sufficient resources and infrastructure, including machines, internet connections and supportive policies. Programs should also be designed in advance, without changing every week due to online and then offline classes.

There is also a mental burden for students and parents when alternating online and offline lessons, Hong said.

“Teachers, parents and students do not feel well [about alternating online and offline classes] and the lack of sufficient infrastructure and resources makes things more difficult. Maintaining in-person classes makes no sense,” he added.

Nguyen Tung Lam, head of the board of education and co-founder of Dinh Tien Hoang High School, said schools should have more power to impose their own policies.

While in-person classes are certainly effective, they can only be so under normal circumstances. With nearly 10,000 cases recorded per day in Hanoi, these courses will not be as effective, he said.

A third of teachers and students at Dinh Tien Hoang School have now been infected. Those who cannot attend classes would study online in the evenings. But if the percentage of teachers infected reached 50%, in-person classes would be totally unsustainable and online classes would be the only option left.

“If in-person classes aren’t effective, schools should be more flexible. More power should be given to schools so they can decide on appropriate teaching methods,” Lam said.

A VnExpress A survey of more than 17,200 readers found that 73% of respondents want schools in Hanoi to fully switch to online classes, 22% want in-person classes to be taught and infected students to stay at home and teach later, while 5% agree with maintaining both online and offline lessons.

The VnExpress Hope Foundation’s “Computers for Students” program aims to provide tablets, laptops and computers to 3,300 students in circumstances, helping them access online education. For more information, please refer to this link.