Larger schools unlikely to operate fully on-site

In the larger schools of Latvia, it is unlikely that full on-site learning will start in September, say principals. Options differ but all agree that some remote learning would be involved, Latvian Radio reported August 5.

One of the options proposed by the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) for the organisation of the learning process is to study on-site, with older classes possibly having a small part of remote learning. In Latvia's big schools, this scenario is unlikely to happen. In Riga State Gymnasium No. 2, with around 800 pupils, two options are considered. One of these is more in line with variant B proposed by the Ministry – part-time learning with different periods of breaks.

“My option D is this: one half of the class come to school for one week and others study online. Next week they change. I know there are a lot of technological issues that have not been resolved today. And then, for those 400 pupils, we can ensure that they are separated. Sitting in the room would be fine, too. Everyone would enjoy face-to-face learning. Now, it is more difficult for teachers to understand how they will organize feedback. But at least there is not full remoteness as it was in the spring,” said principal Vasiļevskis of Riga State Gymnasium No.2.

As much as possible, the school staff want to organize studies in person. But not with a stance of "whatever it takes," said the principal. The school also installed contact-free body temperature sensors on Wednesday. 

On the other hand, Riga Secondary School No.64, which has around 1,400 pupils, plans to divide classes, said principal Edgars Sviklis.

“In our classes, the number of pupils is around 30-34. We'll divide classes in smaller units. Probably in half.To do that, we'll have to think about shifts. The spaces don't allow distancing. And, probably, the timetable will no longer be what it was," Sviklis said.

Latvian Radio also contacted Daugavpils State Gymnasium. It is a relatively smaller school, with around 300 pupils. The principal of the gymnasium, Oksana Petaško, acknowledged that remote learning could be organized when the teacher of the subject is in a risk group.

“We're thinking about how to make them not meet in the hallways. It could be arranged that each flow of people is on its own floor, separate. We have to deal with the issue of how to provide food because it takes time and we cannot give one class lunch at ten in the morning and another at two in the afternoon,” Petaško said.

School directors believe the IZM rules and recommendations to organize the training process could be more specific. Schools are also waiting for recommendations from municipalities, they could be received next week.

IZM is currently planning to organize studies on-site. The Ministry has developed three possible scenarios for the learning process.


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