New Delhi: Parents are opposing the Ministry of Home Affairs’ suggestion that schools reopen in July.
An online petition on change.org, which has garnered over 2 lakh signatures by Monday morning, urges the government to not start school until there are “zero Covid cases”. The petition has described the idea of re-starting school as “playing with fire”.
Started on Saturday by a group called Parents Association, the petition says, “Opening of schools in July will be the worst decision by the Govt. It’s insane. It’s like playing with fire when we ought to douse it with full force. The parents should fight against this stupidity with tooth n nail, not a single child to be sent to the schools for their own safety (sic).”
The petition has called for the current academic session to continue in e-learning mode. “If the schools claim that they are doing a good job via virtual learning then why not continue it for the rest of the academic year,” it says.
Parents have raised concerns about their children being exposed to Covid-19.
“Children might not be conscious of sanitising hands or constantly maintaining physical distance, it is not a good idea to call them back to schools,” said Garima Taneja, a parent whose child goes to a school in Bengaluru.
Some parents also said it will be acceptable to them if their children even lose an academic year.
“I don’t mind if my son has to miss a school year. My wife and I can homeschool him. I am more worried about him being exposed to infections when he goes back to school,” said Santosh Sharma, whose eight-year-old son goes to a private school in Delhi.
Decision on schools reopening in July
In its notification released Saturday, the MHA had said opening of schools and colleges will be possible in the second phase of lockdown relaxation. It, however, added that the decision “will be undertaken in July in consultation with states and union territories, who in the meantime, shall hold meetings at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders”.
“Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in the month of July, 2020,” the guidelines said. It added that the health ministry will prepare standard operating procedures (SOPs) for these institutions.
Even as the Ministry of Human Resource Development has not announced the dates for opening of schools so far, it is ready with a plan. The plan is to call only older students to school, have staggered attendance and ensure social distancing norms.
“The decision to re-open schools will only be taken after proper consultation with ministries of health and home affairs. Meanwhile, safety guidelines for children are being worked out,” a senior official in the ministry said.