Return to “Normal” Around the World

Going back to school: something that is currently out of the question for students here in the United States. However, this seemingly impossible event is becoming a reality for many other high school students in different parts of the world. After months in quarantine, countries like South Korea, Germany, Australia, and China are reopening their classrooms. Nevertheless, resuming education in the time of COVID-19 does not come without difficulties.

Most notably in South Korea, the education systems are taking extreme measures in order to contain the spread of the virus. POV: a female student living in Korea is about to go to school. Before entering the school she would need to get her temperature checked to make sure that she is not sick. Once she passes this “test”, she can then go on to her regular classes, however, she will need to sit in a desk that is six feet away from her peers’ desks. Finally, she can go to eat lunch with her friends- except she would have to talk to them through the plastic barriers that separate each student. Of course, this would all be while wearing a mask and practicing social distancing from her other classmates. There are many precautionary measures that the average student needs to take in South Korea, nonetheless, many of them would understandably argue that it is better than being isolated at home and doing online. Rising sophomore in high school, Kim Ji-hoo, talks about his school reopening in Daegu, South Korea, “There were plastic barriers surrounding our desks. We had to sanitize our hands before every class. So yes, school was very different from when we left it!”

Furthermore, other Asian and European countries are taking different steps in order to get their youth back to school. For example, in Germany, hallways are becoming one-way systems and class sizes are being cut in half. In Australia, schools are opening in staggered stages, having classes one day a week for ¼ of the students from each grade. Even in the epicenter itself, China already has schools reopening- naturally, having the standard precautionary measures like temperature checks before opening schools and plastic dividers for cafeteria tables. Additionally, an upcoming junior in high school from Singapore, Annie Decastro, recently had her school reopen and she states that “It was very surreal… I never imagined going back to school. We all had to wear masks and social distance from each other, but I was really happy to see all of my friends and teachers again so it was worth it.”

It is important that if the public school systems were to reopen in the near future here in the Ridgewood community, the students would have to try to model the same precautionary measures that the students in European and Asian countries are currently taking. This way, hopefully in time, normality will return to Ridgewood.

Lauren Shin
Staff Writer

Graphic: Chloe Cho

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