School managements welcomed students of class 1 to 9 standards in Bengaluru on Monday after the government lifted restrictions on resumption of classes. Students arrived in schools with all the enthusiasm as they were extended a warm welcome. Though the classes are being held in districts other than the capital city, the government had decided to close down physical classes due to higher Covid positivity rate.
The school managements have arranged thermal screening, sanitizers for students to ensure safety.
Kiran Prasad, founder of Vidya Vaibhav Educational Institutes and Member of Karnataka Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools, told IANS that 70 per cent of students are attending classes in his schools.
“We expect 90 per cent of children to be back by Wednesday. Some are returning to Bengaluru. Unlike the first wave and second wave, there is demand this time to open schools. Parents have realized what their kids missed out. In media panel discussions, parents and other members who used to be hostile, when I advocated for reopening of schools earlier, now I found them pitching in for children attending physical classes. The narrative has changed,” he explained.
Starting school for economic reasons is secondary. There are serious learning gaps among kids. For every year’s loss they go backward in learning by two years. They have totally missed socializing, peer learning which they are going to catch up to, he said. The government’s decision to close down a classroom only if Covid infections are found, is a step in right direction, he said.
However, some school managements have decided to reopen in a staggered way. As they are facing staff crunch and still waiting for students from outstations.
However, there is a feeling of elation among staff members, students and parents as well about attending classes. Many institutions have retained most of their staff during the pandemic and are ready to begin classes right away, and those where teachers have been terminated are finding it difficult, sources in the education department said.
Saanvi, a class 9 student, said she is very happy to go back to classes and meet friends. She said that offline classes are the first preference and face to face interaction with teachers and her friends is always better. Chinmayi, a class 8 student explained that the school is providing sanitizers and they have been asked not to share food and snacks with friends. She also explained that they have been asked to bring hot water.
The schools have given protocols and guidelines to parents to watch out Covid symptoms in their children. Most of the schools are keeping their online teaching option open and parents are given freedom to make choices.