BENGALURU: 16 schools coming under Orchids International have decided to shift to online classes due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and the novel Omicron variant. This comes in the wake of confusion regarding closure of schools.
Though no notification has been issued by Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh regarding a shift to online classes, the schools have done so, citing confusion as well as parental concern regarding safety of children.
“The management has decided not to reopen physical classes right now and shift to virtual classes from January 4 in all 48 branches of Orchids schools across India. Parents have also given their consent,” said Jemi Sudhakar, principal of the Nagarbhavi branch. They are also concerned about reopening schools as children would have travelled during the winter vacation.
Similarly, Aloysius D’Mello, principal of Greenwood High International School, said, “The rise in cases is worrying parents, hence, most of them prefer online classes until things appear better.” However, some schools are waiting to take a decision regarding a shift to online classes. “At this point of time, we plan to have offline classes and there is no concern from parents either. We will monitor the situation and take a call based on government protocol,” said Shweta Sastri, managing director of Canadian International School.
A source from the minister’s office said the government is following the advice of Covid experts and has not taken any decision to shift to online classes, with schools free to go online or offline as per their requirement.
Kams for keeping schools open
The Associated Managements of English Medium Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) sent a memorandum to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday, appealing to keep schools open. The memorandum asked for educational institutions not to shut down as students had lost over a year’s education, and shifting online would only make things worse.
“We’ve also requested that SOPs be given so that children are taken care of when using buses to and from education institutions, as well as during tuitions,” said Dr Shashi Kumar, general secretary of KAMS. He said the memorandum was submitted due to confusion and misinformation being spread online and through media, regarding the shutting down of schools.
The parent of a student from Rashtrotthana Vidya Kendra pointed out that schools may go online, but protection of children during activities like playtime, tuitions or family gatherings remains an issue.
Edu minister urges parents to get children vaccinated
With the vaccination drive launched for teenagers on Monday, Primary and Secondary Minister B C Nagesh urged parents to vaccinate their children as soon as possible. The minister recently tested positive for Covid himself, with mild symptoms. Nagesh urged parents to also take proper precautions when it comes to Covid-19. “No child’s education should be incomplete because of Covid,” he said in a video message. Parents should get children vaccinated as well as follow proper Covid guidelines, like wearing masks, observing social distance and sanitising properly, in order to prevent a third wave. The minister tested posted for Covid-19 recently, after noticing mild symptoms like a slight throat infection. The minister had previously been in quarantine in his home town of Tiptur, but has since shifted to Bengaluru to continue his quarantine, and is said to be faring well.