The largest high school in the country, Marshall Islands High School (MIHS), has scheduled a two-week lockdown practice in January as part of its Covid-19 contingency plan.
The plan will see the approximately 1,000 students stay home from January 11 to January 24 to do their school work remotely in the biggest test ever conducted in RMI of school readiness to respond to a possible future Covid-19 outbreak.
“Students will have to return to school first on January 4,” said MIHS Principal Barbara Ned. “In the first week of January we will do a normal school session and get the materials needed for the lockdown practice and make sure the students have them. The following week, that’s when the lockdown begins.”
The school administration has planned three scenarios for MIHS students to do their school assignments and submit them to their teachers during the lockdown practice. These are:
• Scenario one: Students who have an electronic device and internet connection can easily do assignments and submit online.
• Scenario two: Students who have an electronic device, but no internet connection are to be given a flash drive on which to save and submit their work to the school through a designated drop zone.
• Scenario three: Students who have no electronic devices or internet connection will be given a printed packet of all the school subjects to do at home. Like scenario two, this requires students to submit their packet personally at a drop zone. Each area from Rairok to Rita will have its own designated drop zone. The teacher will then collect the packets and grade the work.
Some students at MIHS, however, do not agree on this scenario because they feel that in the event of a real Covid situation, they could put their teacher’s life in jeopardy just by grading their school assignments via the packets.
Covid is mainly spread when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes, or talks, particularly in an enclosed area. Viruses contained in microscopic droplets that come out of people’s mouths can infect other people via the eyes, nose, or mouth — either when they land directly on somebody’s face or when they’re transferred there by people touching their face with contaminated hands.
Some students feel that accidents tend to happen, the teacher may never know if the student coughed or sneezed and little blobs of Covid-infected liquid contaminated their packet.
On the other hand, if they wear a mask and practice proper hand washing with a soap and hand sanitizer the chance of Covid spread will be reduced. What’s left now is to see if the two-week practice run in January will help prepare MIHS students, teachers, and staff in case there is a Covid-19 outbreak here on Majuro.