Offline training in the Kaharlyk community schools
Kaharlyk district is located in the southeast of the Kyiv Region, on the right bank of the Dnipro river. Once it was a separate district, but now the Kaharlyk City Territorial Community is part of the Obukhiv District. The centre of the community – the city of Kaharlyk – is located 72 kilometres from Kyiv.
After russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the community's territory became a permanent transit shelter for internally displaced persons. Due to IDPs and residents of Kyiv who moved to live in the community, the population has almost doubled. There are villages where the number of displaced persons exceeds the local population by almost two times.
Today, there are 12 institutions of general secondary education, 17 institutions of preschool education and 3 institutions of out-of-school education in the Kaharlyk community.
"We have created conditions in our simplest shelters for participants in the educational process. By the beginning of the school year, most of the shelters were already ready," says Nadiia Omelchenko, the Head of the Kaharlyk City Council Education Department.
The Head noted that the community's educational institutions conducted a survey of parents on the form of education they prefer. The survey result showed that 55.2% of the surveyed parents are in favour of distance learning, and 44.8 % – of mixed learning. In other words, some children plan to study online, while others plan to study full-time.
"It is good when there are cohorts in the institution, as in the city Lyceum No. 3. Then the students form consolidated classes for full-time and distance learning", explains Nadiia Omelchenko. "If there is a single class in a cohort, then one day there is full-time training, and the other – distance learning. That is a mixed form of training. Also, in each institution, the directors themselves determine the mode of its work and forms of education, focusing on what time they will be able to bring students from other localities."
The type of training is also influenced by the peculiarities of shelters in lyceums and gymnasiums: if there is only one exit from the basement, no more than 50 people can be there at a time.
Before the beginning of the mass construction of shelters in educational institutions of the Kaharlyk City Territorial Community, local teachers already had experience in that area: although after the start of a full-scale invasion of russia the Kaharlyk lyceums did not work offline, shelters operated there. Thus, the basements of city Lyceums No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 were used by the population during the air alerts.
Back on May 17, two regular groups were launched in the "Romashka" Kaharlyk kindergarten – these are groups for children whose parents work without the possibility of leaving the child with someone. The regular groups also include children of IDPs and children whose parents defend our homeland from the enemy.
In the basement of the kindergarten, all conditions were created for the short-term stay of children during the air alerts: the roof was refurbished at the entrance, plastered, and whitewashed, basic and backup lighting was made, heaters were installed, chairs and beds were moved, toilets were equipped. There are also supplies of drinking water and first-aid kits.
On August 4, regular groups were also launched in the "Teremok" city kindergarten. The institution does not have its own basement for shelter, so its students have a shelter in one of the basements in Lyceum No. 3, which is located nearby.
Work on the mass arrangement of the simplest shelters in lyceums, gymnasiums and kindergartens of the Kaharlyk region began at the end of June. By order of the mayor, a commission was created to inspect basements and their use. It includes the deputy mayor, representatives of the State Emergency Service, the State Food and Consumer Service, healthcare, and the Education Department. Separate commissions have also been set up under the District Military Administration and the Regional Administration, whose purpose is to tour the premises and decide whether to coordinate their use.
Nine lyceums of the community have basements, while three – Cherniakhiv, Myrivka lyceums and Kadomka gymnasium – do not. Therefore, their students and staff use third-party basements located no further than 500 meters away.
The Head of the City Council Education Department notes that significant work has been done in other lyceums. We started with the warehouse portion because the basements were used to store various things, such as old furniture. Therefore, the premises had to be cleaned out, and the floor of some basements had to be levelled, concreted and painted.
All shelters have lighting and backup power. In some institutions, the floor is concrete. We whitewashed the ceilings and painted the walls and floor. We purchased wastewater bins, medicines for first-aid kits, and installed toilets. It only remains to arrange the fire shields. Fire extinguishers are already there.
The shelters are also equipped with chairs and benches, tanks with drinking and industrial water, food storage containers and flashlights. And with means of communication as well.
The lion's share of work funding comes from the city budget. In some villages, local businesses and entrepreneurs help. The staff of different institutions and parents took part in cleaning up basements, whitewashing, painting, and other works.
The Head of the City Department of Education says that the number of children in kindergartens is higher than places in the basements. That's why only regular groups work.
There are also three out-of-school institutions in the Community – Center for Children and Youth Creativity and Children and Youth Sports School, and an Interschool Vocational Training Center. All of them have a basement area.
According to Nadiia Omelchenko, the shelters are ready for use in city lyceums No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, in the Burty Lyceum.
Its director Vasyl Mamii spoke about the arrangement of the shelter in Lyceum No. 1.
"One of the hot topics regarding the format of teaching children is offline or online. We surveyed parents. The trend is that parents of students in grades 1-4 are mostly in favour of full-time education, and the opinions of the parents of middle and senior students are divided 50 to 50. Therefore, we had to create safe conditions in the Lyceum, and have at least the simplest shelter.
In our institution, a dining room was once located in the basement, but we converted it into a shelter for children and staff – 210 people can be accommodated there. To do this, we carried out many works: whitewashed, checked the electrical wiring, provided the additional autonomous power supply from batteries, and installed additional fire extinguishers. There is also Wi-Fi so that children can contact their parents if necessary, as well as bathrooms with a water supply and a sump-type sewer system."
The situation in the Kaharlyk Lyceum No. 3 is commented on by its director Nataliia Kovalenko.
"We conducted an online survey of the parents of our students. Unfortunately, not everyone joined it. The results are as follows: 68.5 % – for distance learning, 28 % – for offline training, and the rest are undecided.
We have several rooms in the basement. One was ready, and two had no floor, no electricity, nothing. The city council allocated funds for all the work.
First, teachers and technical workers took out everything that was stored in the basement and levelled the floor. Then they did some lighting for us and put the doors up according to the fire requirements. We made a toilet on our own. Whitewashed the walls and ceiling. Painted the floor in one of the rooms. The chairs we have are old furniture, we didn't throw anything away, so now it will come in handy. In one of the rooms, tables were placed for children to draw or play.
We are trying to practice mixed learning. I want junior students to study full-time. At least the first and second grades. But in the primary grades, 57% of parents are in favour of distance learning," says the Director of the Lyceum.
The same kind of work as in Lyceum No. 3 is ongoing in the Stavy Lyceum. In Stavy, the kindergarten "Zirochka" has no own basement. But the school with a large basement of up to 1500 m² is about 20 meters away. Therefore, there are designated places for both lyceum students and kindergarten students. Lighting works have been completed, whitewashing has been carried out, and the floor is being concreted.
Almost everything is ready in Burty. Here we made a second exit from the basement. We purchased a generator in case of power failure. We got Wi-Fi so that we can use the Internet.
Director of the Burty Lyceum Liudmyla Nesteruk tells how the institution's shelter facility was equipped.
"Previously, the basement of our institution, however, like all school basements, was used as a storage room for old furniture and all accessories. Although two years ago the teacher of the Defence of Ukraine turned one room into a real shooting gallery.
The area of the basement itself is 3000 m². The territory is large. There was a lot to clean up. On February 24, we put everything in order with all our colleagues and employees of the Lyceum in the same breath. We understood that our basement is almost the only shelter not only for our children but also for local residents.
The extra stuff was packed and taken out. Bottled water was refilled. The benches, chairs and old mattresses were brought in. Our student's father brought a generator.
We thought it was all temporary... But the events in our country required us to work hard in the basement. Together we whitewashed the walls and painted the doors. With the help of the Department of Education, we made lighting and purchased garbage cans. We equip separate rooms for elementary, middle and high school. There is enough work for everyone.
One store gave us 20 pallets for free, from which the teachers themselves made small sofas for our children. The village head also helps in any matter without denial.
We conducted a survey of parents about the form of education their children want to study. The results are 50/50. Children need communication, they want to go to school, but you can also understand parents who are worried about the safety of their children. Therefore, we work in various forms of training, both remotely and full-time.
A separate room was also allocated for kindergarten children. Kindergarten employees together with us helped to make a separate entrance for them, whitewashed and painted the room."
Chairman of the City Council Commission Ihor Budiuk noted that work on the arrangement of the simplest shelters for students and pupils of kindergartens in the Kaharlyk community was completed by September 1. There is a lot of work to do, but it was different in each of the institutions. Somewhere it was enough to make cosmetic repairs, as in Lyceum No. 1, and somewhere it was necessary to start by clearing the basements of the things stored there. But the community provides 100% of the need for shelters for children, as well as for the staff of educational institutions and kindergartens.
Writer: Valentin Vladimirov