Learning in war conditions: how the Lviv Region schoolchildren will study during the air alerts
On September 1, 2022, the Lviv Region schools began full-time training. Due to russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the threat of rocket attacks on civilians, shelters have been set up in educational institutions where children and teachers can take shelter during the air alerts.
We found out whether all schools have such shelters, how they are equipped, at whose expense, and what requirements exist for shelters in educational institutions.
Most schools in the Lviv Region reported that shelters in their premises are ready for the school year. This was announced by the Director of the Department of Education and Science of Lviv Regional Military Administration Oleh Paska.
According to him, these are various shelters – from the simplest to anti-radiation ones, creating a safe environment for children.
"43% of schools have storage facilities that were immediately built as shelters. In others, basements have been converted into shelters," he said.
So, for example, one of the new schools in the Lviv Territorial Community has a well-planned and comfortable shelter for the educational process, which can accommodate about seven hundred students. By the way, just so many children are studying in this school.
"This is a relatively new school, its construction was completed 4-5 years ago. The shelter reaches up to five meters underground, and has a ventilation system, toilets, autonomous water supply, and additional emergency exits," said Oleh Paska.
He noted that there are about ten schools with such shelters in the region.
More than 80% of schools prepared shelters for the beginning of the school year, so we managed to start training on September 1 in an offline mode.
"If an educational institution does not have the opportunity to equip a shelter, we recommended to use the shelter of other institutions within walking distance," says Olha Kotovska, Deputy Director of the Department of Education and Science of Lviv Regional Military Administration.
"There is a shelter with equipped toilets, as well as Wi-Fi. There is a shelter where you can conduct lessons," she said.
At the same time, she clarified that not all lessons can be held in the shelter – it will not be possible to conduct practical exercises. But some rooms are equipped with desks and blackboards.
In the Yavoriv District of the Lviv Region, it is recommended to start full-time studies in 84 schools. Permission to start full-time studies was granted by a special interdepartmental commission consisting of representatives of education, employees of the State Emergency Service and the juvenile police.
"Civil protection facilities are available in four educational institutions. The simplest shelters are organized in 63 schools. Another 21 schools will use the shelter of other business entities," the Yavoriv District Council reported.
More than 400 internally displaced persons – both children and adults – continue to live in municipal educational institutions of Drohobych City Council. Therefore, full-time training is more difficult to conduct here.
According to the Stryi District Military Administration, 194 general secondary education institutions are currently 85% equipped with shelters, and 26 general secondary education institutions have no shelters. For those schools where there is no shelter, nearby shelters have been prepared and checked.
According to the Director of Stryi Primary School No. 1, Serhiy Zapisov, a survey was conducted in their institution, where they asked parents to vote on the feasibility of full-time education.
178 respondents out of 218 supported full-time training, and 40 supported distance learning. According to him, after conducting the survey and publishing the results, parents came to the school and checked the shelter arranged at the school. As a result, there were only three families who did not dare to let their children go to classes offline. But even such a small number is taken into account: home training is organized for them. All other children attend school.
Serhiy Zasipov also said that the school has a shelter, which was examined by an interdepartmental commission and allowed to be used. In the shelter, among other learning opportunities, a projector, screen, TV, and blackboard were installed for students and password-free access to the Internet was made available. There is also running water, a portable toilet and essential medicines.
"The school was built in 1982. And this is a typical basement. It was upgraded, cleaned, and equipped with additional ventilation. But this is not a bomb shelter," explains Serhiy Zasipov.
According to the school director, funds for the shelter were provided by parents, school graduates and city entrepreneurs. So, with joint funds and efforts, it was possible to carry out repairs in the school basement. In addition, both school employees and concerned citizens started working to prepare shelters by the beginning of the school year.
"We were allowed to redistribute funds from the school's own budget. We withdrew funds from the "school meal" budget item, because the children learned remotely, and used them to modernize the shelter, that is, we bought everything we needed," says the Director of Stryi School No. 1.
He emphasized that if the air alerts still sound too often, the school will again switch to distance learning. However, he hopes that this will not happen. After all, second-graders almost did not go to school due to quarantine restrictions and did not communicate with their classmates. And communication with peers is an important component of the educational process.
Also, according to Serhiy Zasipov, the educational process at their school begins with safety lessons, where students learn to go down to the shelter in an organized manner during the air alerts.
According to the Head of the press centre of the Main Department of the State Emergency Service in the Lviv region Vitaliy Turovtsev, today there are certain recommendations on what shelter should be arranged in educational institutions.
"These should be basements or semi-basements with no windows. If they exist, then they should be blocked either with sandbags or concrete barriers, which would make it impossible for any fragments to enter," the rescuer said.
Also, the shelter should have a supply of water and food and benches for sitting, so that children can sit out the time while the alert lasts. Also, there should be carbon dioxide fire extinguishers in this room.
"A powder fire extinguisher in a confined space creates a lot of dust and makes it difficult to breathe. Therefore, fire extinguishers must be carbon dioxide," Colonel Turovtsev explained.
He also noted that these premises are not suitable for conducting lessons. You can only stay there for a while while the air alert lasts.
Writer: Marianna Popovich
Photo: Open Source