New Delhi: Delhi schools reopened Monday, after a 10-month-long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to a lukewarm response from students.
The schools were reopened, with strict guidelines in place, only for students of classes 10 and 12. They could attend classes only after prior consent from parents.
However, despite preparations by school administrations and the government, not many students returned to in-person classes.
Ajay Arora, the chairman of Holy Group of Schools told ThePrint: “We have prepared our school premises as per the directives issued by the central and state government but none of the students turned up. We had given consent forms to the parents of all our 400 students in class 10 and 12 but we received a response from only 4 of them.”
He added that most parents wanted to “wait it out for a week”.
This was the case in several schools across the national capital.
In Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, only 10 per cent of the total students from classes 10 and 12 turned up. According to data shared by the school, a total of 433 students study in these two classes but only 46 turned up.
“We encourage students to travel via their personal transport in order to maintain Covid hygiene. We plan to conduct classes in a staggered manner and have installed thermal scanners in our school,” the school’s principal Alka Kapur told ThePrint.
In Sarvodaya Co-ed Sr Secondary School, Munirka, the student turnout ratio was 50 per cent.
A teacher, who did not wish to be named, said: “Our school only has commerce and arts faculties, in class 12 we have a total of 93 students of which about 50 per cent students turned up. A similar trend was seen in class 10 students as well.”
In Delhi Public School, Dwarka, only 44 science students from a total strength of 149 showed up while in Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, only eight science students, who were supposed to appear for examinations, attended classes.
Sarvodaya Co-ed Sr Secondary School, Rohini, was the only school that saw a staggering turn-out. A total of 70 per cent students attended classes — 158 of a total of 285 students from Class 10 and 118 of 273 students from Class 12.
Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Subhash Nagar, also saw 60 per cent students attend classes.
Speaking to ThePrint, Sant Ram, the district secretary of the area and a teacher at the school, said: “The reason for such a good turn out in government schools is because most parents can not afford to continue online education. They would prefer that students visit the school in person and study.”
Sanitisers, disinfectants and other strict Covid protocols
The schools across the national capital reopened with strict Covid guidelines in force.
According to a government directive, all schools were instructed to set up sanitisers, fogging machines, thermal scanners and disinfectants in their premises.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia also visited two schools — Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Chirag Enclave and DPS Mathura Road — to assess their preparations Monday.
Felt really good to meet children in schools after such a long time!
They are still adjusting to be back in school with safety norms but are extremely happy to meet their friends!
Teachers are also overjoyed to meet students saying it has filled an empty space in their life. pic.twitter.com/w7OyTo9fWV
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) January 18, 2021
“It is only after careful consideration that we’ve reopened the schools for class 10 and 12 students. Since CBSE has announced the dates for board exams in May, it would’ve been unfair for the students to directly sit down for the examinations without any counselling or pre-board classes,” said Sisodia in a statement.
He added: “All the officers were directed to go to their zones and districts to ensure Covid-19 protocols are being followed strictly. I also directed them to speak to the students and teachers, and understand their concerns.”
The Delhi government allowed schools to reopen for classes 10 and 12 on 13 January in order to help students prepare for the upcoming board exams.
The schools across the country were shut in mid-March 2020 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the central government had allowed partial reopening of schools in September last year, the Delhi government had decided against resuming offline classes due to rising cases of Covid-19.
(With inputs from Aneesha Bedi)