Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2020-2021
Most regions' schools will start on 14 September 2020 while the Bolzano region started classes on 7 September 2020. However, some regions including Puglia and Calabria have delayed the opening of schools until 24 September.
The Ministry of Education published a list of new safety protocols for schools earlier this month aiming to protect the health of students and teachers.
The main points are:
• Masks: Face masks are mandatory for all children over the age of six when they are on school premises, except for in gym class, when eating in canteens and answering a teacher. Teachers, other staff, and parents will be required to wear face masks inside the school premises.
• Remote learning: The government is leaving schools the option of continuing to teach some of their lessons online – but not all of them. Schools can alternate in-person lessons with remote teaching, though the Ministry has stressed the importance of getting all pupils – especially younger ones – back in class as much as possible.
• Social distancing: The safety protocol stresses the need to ensure a distance of at least one metre between pupils throughout school premises. Each school can decide how to set up the classrooms even though the government has put out a tender for more than two million one-person desks, in order to reduce the risk of contagious.
Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2019-2020
INDIRE is focused on making available resources for students and teachers for teaching online. The ministry started a centralised action on their website and provides support to train teachers that are not digitally advanced with webinars, tutorials that could help choose the right tools and platforms and sharing good practices by other teachers.
Some of the challenges are the emotional distress that can be caused due to the quarantine as well as the re-organisation in the school level. Some schools are not prepared enough when they are asked to lead the process of guiding teachers and enhancing communication with families and students. The ministry and other publishers (such as public TV and institutions) make also resources and lessons accessible online.
The ministry considers the future of education following this crisis as all schools and teachers are now forced to use e-learning and get accustomed to teaching in alternative settings. It is an opportunity to collect information and advance in ICT tools and distant learning.
INIDRE opened a new initiative for students. It is a collaborative effort between all the 19 national Research Institutes by INDIRE gathers over 280 open resources to support online teaching and learning. The resources are available here.