They had all reopened briefly to shut down again in March when the second wave started. Many schools have started sanitising campuses and made routines in a way that classes can be divided into two groups with each group coming to the campus every alternate day.
We need to find the right balance between being wary of the virus’s spread and being conscious of what school and college students are losing because of continuous online classes. It is tricky; and decision makers are understandably wary because Covid-19 and their response to the disease have often become unnecessarily contentious. A “hybrid” approach, with a combination of online classes and some on-campus sessions, may be the right way ahead.
Schools are enthused about the fact that now the Centre has also devised a general re-opening guideline and say that they await the state’s SOPs along with a tentative re-opening date. Parents are, however, more cautious since the kids are yet to be vaccinated.
The mood is also reflected in the feedback that the parents are sending to schools. There are several schools that have sent out e-forms to parents seeking their opinion about reopening and in most schools the scales are tilted towards naysayers. At The Heritage, for example, 50% parents have said no to sending their wards if schools re-open post Pujas. In the survey forms that were sent out from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy at least thrice since the second wave, most parents have shown their unwillingness to send their wards. “We will hold the NEET in school on Sunday and have taken a lot of care to ensure safety of students. Once we are through with it, we will send out another round of forms to parents,” said director Meena Kak.
Most CBSE and CISCE affiliated schools said it is not yet clear whether the boards want to hold the first semester of board exams, scheduled in November, online or physically.
“Sending kids to school is a long-drawn process. Not everyone has a private vehicle. So, dependence on public transport will be there. How safe are they?” asked Sukanya Das, management faculty who has two sons in classes III and IX at La Martiniere for Boys.