Home Opinion Featured Articles COVID-19 adds emotional, financial burden to Syrian families with start of school

COVID-19 adds emotional, financial burden to Syrian families with start of school


by Hummam Sheikh Ali

Instead of helping her son review the lessons, Rania al-Halabi now spends time teaching her fifth-grade boy how to wear a mask and keep a distance at school to protect him from the coronavirus.

Previously, the woman had to prepare books, pens, and school bags with a good luck wish. Now, al-Halabi has to prepare another bag for her son, Laith. The new bag contains masks, gloves, and detergents.

For al-Halabi and her husband, the school year, which begins on Sept. 13 in Syria, poses a challenge to them amid fears of the COVID-19. They could not even hide their worries about sending their child to school.

“We are especially worried that my kid is in primary school as this age needs more awareness. I hope that they will postpone the school opening particularly for primary school students,” she told Xinhua.

Despite her hesitation, the worried mother said she is teaching her child how to protect himself at school in case the schools were not pushed back.

“We are taking all precautionary steps for our child and we are teaching him all he needs to know about coronavirus and how to deal with his friends in the classroom,” she said.

Al-Halabi said that another bag with Laith to school will add burden both financially to the family and physically to the child.

She lives with her family-in-law in the Jaramana area in the same building.

Her brother-in-law, Ismat Jabr, and his wife, Tagrid Hamzeh, both shared the same worries for their son who is in the eighth grade.

Jabr told Xinhua that the parents this year have an additional task, which is making sure that their children follow the guidelines to protect themselves and their surroundings from the COVID-19.

He said he is particularly worried about the younger children as it is difficult to make sure they are adhering to the instructions of their parents and teachers.

“I am worried but I have to deal with the new academic year with great caution for my kid and all the children,” he said.
Jabr said the most important thing this year is raising awareness for the kids and the parents who must teach their kids how to deal with the new situation.

“We must take protective measures so that the student doesn’t transmit the disease to his parents and friends,” he said.
The new cleansing equipment added a burden to the families such as the detergent gel, alcohol, masks, and water bottles. All these things added extra financial burden to the parents and also extra weight to the student, he said.

Hamzeh said her son is responding to her instructions about the steps needed to protect against the coronavirus.

She noted that her son is also afraid that he might bring an infection back home.

Hamzeh also told her son not to bully or fear the kids if they were sick at school, noting that this is important to not create a bullying situation for sick kids at school.

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