New Delhi: Only 33 per cent parents support reopening of schools in September, according to a survey by LocalCircles, a community social media platform.
States such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Goa are considering reopening up of schools from 1 September, with precautionary measures in place, in the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions.
While 13 per cent of the survey respondents said they cannot afford to take chances with their children, 1 per cent thought there was serious risk of exposing senior members in the family to the virus if a child gets infected. Nine per cent said social distancing will not be possible in schools and 5 per cent believed Covid-19 will spread even faster if schools reopened.
Two per cent respondents believed online education was a “good substitute” and 47 per cent gave all of the above reasons for not wanting schools to reopen.
The survey also discussed the issue of children living in villages and schools that do not have online education facilities. Parents, it found, felt that the government should enable online classes in such schools via radio, television and financial support.
They also suggested that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds be deployed “via a centralised mission into online school education” and furnish low cost computing devices in schools.
LocalCircles’ survey had received over 25,000 responses from 252 districts of India. Of these, 63 per cent respondents were men and 37 per cent women. There were 48 per cent respondents from tier one cities, 27 per cent from tier two and 25 per cent from tier three, four and rural districts.
Surge in Covid cases linked to reopening of schools
Reopening of schools in various countries have resulted in a surge of coronavirus cases.
In Israel, with 85,354 coronavirus cases so far, a second wave of infections has been directly linked to reopening of schools.
Schools in the US states of Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana and Louisiana have reported cases of transmission among students and staff within a fortnight of them reopening. Kenya, meanwhile, has cancelled the entire school year and will make students repeat it.
Reopening of schools in India has also been opposed by the Delhi Parents’ Association, which had written a letter to the Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on 19 July, requesting that all educational institutes be closed “until a Covid-19 vaccine is developed”.
As of 11 August, India has recorded 6,39,929 active cases and over 45,000 Covid-19 fatalities.