Lebanese schools were set to reopen today but the majority of public and private schools did not abide by the ministry’s decision. The truth is both the education and health ministry have done a lousy job preparing for the re-opening, from equipping the schools, to providing enough PCRs and rapid tests, and more importantly to getting all schools staff and students vaccinated. In fact, a marathon to vaccinate teachers and students was just organized over the weekend, which is always welcome but badly timed two days before school starts.
So should schools reopen?
The truth is there’s no clear answer to that, as a lot of countries are opting to end school closures for the sake of the children’s education and mental health – and of course the parents’ well-being, while others are arguing that it’s still too risky to open schools and day cares at the moment.
Unfortunately in Lebanon, it gets more complicated because the authorities have decided to keep everything open and disregard all signs of Omicron spreading, which raises the question whether reopening schools will make that big of a difference. After all, the authorities aren’t doing much to enforce social distancing rules or fining people for not wearing masks, restaurants and pubs went all out on NYE and we’re seeing family gatherings, dinners, engagements, baptisms and weddings all over social media.
This being said, and just like everything else in Lebanon, it will be up to schools to decide what’s best for them and for the parents, as the concerned ministries are incapable of managing the situation. The sooner schools reopen, the better for everyone but it’s crucial that teachers, students and parents abide by social distancing rules inside and outside schools to avoid worsening the situation.