January 28, 2024

Schooling amid Shells


Schooling amid Shells
Belgorod State University. The Russian Life files.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has not only interrupted the lives of Ukrainians. Even schoolkids on the Russian side of the border have been impacted.

A report by Vazhnie Istorii revealed robust procedures undertaken by schools in Belgorod Oblast, on the border with Ukraine, to ensure student safety.

Last year, September 1 festivities – usually grandiose celebratory affairs open to families and the community – were closed to all but students, whose identities were closely checked as they entered school buildings. Parents can no longer enter classrooms, and security has been substantially tightened.

School buildings have also been shored up: sandbags have been piled to soften the blow of an explosion (so much so that part of one building collapsed under their weight). Windows have been reinforced with special shatterproof film, and bomb shelters have been created in basements and first-floor classrooms.

At the same time, student and teacher numbers are falling, as many have evacuated or been called up – the region is so close to the front line that sounds of shelling are often audible.

Since 2022, airstrikes from Ukrainian planes and by mistaken Russian pilots have injured and killed dozens in Belgorad. Most recently, this month a Russian transport plane crashed in Belgorod Oblast. The contents of the aircraft and the reason for its destruction are still unknown.

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