Educational institutions face reopening dilemmas that require plans for addressing not only health safety issues, but also their capabilities to earn revenues.
Unless a vaccine is already in place, schools cannot just reopen without instituting plans for addressing prevention and control of coronavirus spread.
Such plans must be built on three basic necessities: safe-distancing, testing and contact-tracing. If schools are to reopen, they have to consider the number of students in each room, which of course must conform to safe-distancing measures of at least 6 feet apart.
The Impact of Safe-Distancing Measures on School Revenues
Instituting safe distancing measures means limiting the total population of students who will be occupying the existing number of classrooms available. As a consequence, bringing down the student population number will likewise yield revenues that might not even be commensurate in meeting overhead costs.
After all, private educational institutions are tuition-fee dependent, and can operate profitably only if the number of students enrolled for each semester, will bring in tuition fees that will exceed total operational costs for the year.
Given that advancements in videoconferencing technology can now support the holding of remote classes, many students, particularly those belonging to the low-income bracket do not have access to reliable Internet connection. Moreover, not a few, face living conditions that cannot provide them with spaces conducive for online or distance learning.
As a result, many students could forego attending classes and instead, simply wait when everything goes back to normal; or when an anti COVID-19 vaccine is already available.
Changes Could Intensify Problems Faced by Schools
Smaller Class Size but with Increased Class Sessions Per Subject
Educators will also feel the impact of potential changes since subject lectures and discussions will spread thinly across several class sessions. If the number of students attending each session is reduced, the number of sessions presided over by every subject teacher could double, or even triple. In effect, it also increases efforts exerted by teachers. Since revenue generation will become an issue, hiring of additional teachers will be out of the question.
Increased Efforts in Instilling Discipline
School administrators and teachers will have to intensify methods and efforts in instilling discipline among students, in and outside of classrooms, campus, and dorms.
Students coming in and out of the campus must be constantly monitored for signs or symptoms of coronavirus infection. Schools therefore must have a quick-response team trained to handle situations whenever monitoring results reveal potential signs of infection.
Decisions for Reopening School During an Ongoing Health Crisis
Although the decision to reopen even during an ongoing health crisis is up to the school board officials, any decision to do so must be backed by commitments of enrolling students and their parents in abiding with new rules that the school will impose. That way, school administrators will not be detracted from carrying out their core mission of providing education, albeit under modified teaching conditions and environment.
Moreover, resource availability is also a determining factor for reopening decisions. Availability of technology for providing safe and efficient approaches to learning amidst a coronavirus crisis, are factors that college students will consider before deciding to enroll once the school reopens this fall semester.
Even faculty members and administration staff will have to weigh the safety and workable situations in which they are expected to function as educators and support personnel.
In the meantime, school administrators can consider collaborating with a provider of call center outsourcing service to handle incoming and outgoing calls. Putting in place an efficient crew who will be in charge of answering queries with reduced wait-times, and on a round-the- clock basis immediately sends a sign of a school’s preparedness. Besides, there are local call center outsource firms that render their service under a no-contract agreement in order to make a low-cost arrangement flexible.