On New Year’s Eve, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin made all schoolchildren and college students a gift that they did not even dare to hope for – he extended their winter holidays until January 17. The school children are happy. But the parental and especially the teacher’s voices in the chorus of enthusiasm are clearly not heard.
It is clear that behind the back of the capital’s mayor, who announced the day before the decision to extend the school holidays by a week, are not the teacher’s pointers, but the white coats of doctors. More precisely, the “spacesuits” in which doctors have been working day after day in the “red zones” full of coronavirus victims for the last year. And their work, alas, is not diminishing.
As experts assure with reference to the long-term statistics of habitual flu with ARVI, in ordinary life the New Year holidays usually contribute to a decline in the incidence. However, in the case of the “crown”, the traditional one and a half weeks may not be enough. So in order to quickly knock down the wave and decided to extend the pause for another week.
At the same time, as Sobyanin emphasized, not only schools with colleges will go on vacation, but also institutions of additional education, in other words, circles and sections. And there will be no classes until the end of the holidays anywhere at all – neither face-to-face, nor distance: except that “the children themselves can repeat what they have passed and study new material at will with the help of the Moscow electronic school,” said the mayor.
The younger schoolchildren are delighted with this news, not clouded by any outside considerations. High school students reacted to the news of the extension of the holidays much more calmly. But parents and especially teachers, this news, it seems, is not happy at all. Rather, the opposite is true.
For example, the first thing that 11th-grader Denis thought about when he learned about the vacation week that had fallen from the sky was not a rest, but the possibility of additional lessons with a math tutor. This, however, is understandable, because in the summer of 2021 a guy will go to university. But Denis’s mother Natalya openly regrets the lost study time, reasonably believing that additional classes with a tutor, if necessary, “could be arranged without interrupting class work”.
The teachers, however, literally grieve over the lost week, for “now we will have to catch up with our sweat and blood. The curriculum is already tense, the format of training – face-to-face or distance – is still unclear. And this means that, whatever one may say, we need to count on additional difficulties, ”one of the teachers said on condition of anonymity.
How do experts assess the situation?
“Moscow has created the best conditions for a distant student,” Sergei Kosaretsky, director of the Center for General and Continuing Education at the Higher School of Economics, told MK. “But even so, the quality of distance education is inferior to full-time education, and this risk is especially great for graduates of 9th and 11th grades. Yes, there is a group of children for whom saving time on the way to school or, say, the ability to build the educational process “for themselves” will benefit from an extra week of vacation. But there are relatively few of them: children from the most prosperous families, students of strong schools, and children who study with tutors. And a very large group of schoolchildren will not gain anything and even, rather, will lose. First of all, children from disadvantaged families, although I would like to emphasize once again that the losses for the capital’s schoolchildren will be less than anywhere else.
There is another important aspect of the problem, the expert warned:
– There is an extremely high negative attitude towards distance in society, and it is by no means only marginalized people who are fond of “conspiracy theory.” And in such a situation, it is especially important to listen to the position of the parents. Of course, the risks posed by the coronavirus are very high. But schools, as studies show, are not the main breeding grounds for infection, and therefore it seems that, depending on the epidemiological situation, they should be closed, if necessary, the last ones, and opened, if possible, the first! And it is better, if there is reason to expect a dramatic development of events, to give more detailed justifications for the need to close schools. Otherwise, against the background of reports of stabilization of the situation, such a decision may raise questions from parents and teachers and even stir up conspiracy sentiments in a part of society.