School reopening is how technology makes it safer to return to school

In an era of epidemics, for children to go to school, safety and health are crucial

The reopening of the school is a necessary step as the Government of India is taking a number of important decisions to recover from the effects of the epidemic. This is an important decision because the future of 122 million primary school students and 63 million secondary school students is at risk. A recent study found that the learning losses borne by children were directly proportional to their future earnings, and therefore, to the overall economy. As a country facing an epidemic-induced economic and employment crisis, India cannot enter a larger education and development crisis, especially one that involves its future decision-makers.

The USA was grappling with similar concerns when it came to reopening schools during the epidemic. Increasing the lockdown was not an option because American researchers have observed how school closures have an disproportionate impact on students from black, Hispanic, financially disadvantaged and other minority communities. Against this background, the Biden government announced plans to reopen schools within the first 100 days of coming to power.

To make school return safer and more secure in the aftermath of the epidemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued updated guidelines for the prevention of Covid-19 in K-12 schools. Following these guidelines, several school districts welcome their students to their first private class a year later. By receiving similar indications from other countries regarding the guidelines and technologies identified and implemented in the last few months, India can work towards reopening its schools more safely, securely and smoothly.

Here’s a look at some of the technology-based tools and strategies that governments and school authorities can use to streamline manual administration and safety activities.

Thermal screening for rapid detection and isolation

Using AI-equipped thermal screening systems, 100 schools in China and a few in the United States were able to ensure the complete protection of their students and teachers. Typically installed at school entrances, the device can detect accurate signs of student temperature rise and help school authorities take action in real time. For example, if a student is scanned for high temperatures, teachers may re-examine the student or decide to send the student home directly, thus reducing the risk of infection inside the school.

Video analysis for better compliance with safety protocols on school premises

When thousands of students return to school, authorities may have trouble verifying that all students are following safety guidelines without error. AI-powered monitoring systems can help schools ensure that proper masking supervision is not tedious or time consuming. Video analysis combined with facial recognition technology can automatically flag instances if someone removes their mask or wears it incorrectly, allowing teachers and staff to intervene immediately. These systems are also equipped to recognize faces through masks, which can automate and speed up attendance recording of students, faculty and staff.

Smart monitoring to ensure safe commuting experience to and from school

Although an officer is usually assigned to look after the students inside the bus, it may be difficult for the officer to ensure that the students are not violating the safety rules. In order to reduce human errors, in this case, continuous monitoring is required which is almost impossible to achieve manually. It is here that advanced monitoring equipment steps in to help school authorities make school bus travel safer for students in the post-epidemic world. Cameras in cars can help schools ensure that students are not removing their masks or violating social distance while traveling home or on the road. Such measures can make both parents and teachers feel comfortable when it comes to the safety of young school-going students.

Automatic surface sanitization

Regular sanitization of surfaces such as desks, door and washroom taps, lab and library equipment is crucial to reduce the risk of accidental infection. AI-based school management systems can automatically set sanitation reminders when managing inventory to ensure that the Covid-19 prevention kit, which includes sanitizers, masks, trash cans, etc., is replenished.

As we enter the third year of the post-epidemic world, ensuring a quick return to the classroom becomes important to us as a country of millions of young students. From implementing safety guidelines to harnessing the potential of technology, we need to focus on restructuring our pre-epidemic school structure to pave the way for a safer, healthier and more promising future for future leaders.

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