All study and no play for these school students
CHENNAI: Students of Sri Chaitanya Techno School in Mandaveli and their parents were in for a shock when they received a message from the school authorities a couple of days ago. The school will now operate for nine hours, it said.
Besides violating the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that mandates only six hours of classes, the school sent a schedule to the students, according to which, each student is supposed to send an 'update' message by 4 am. If not, they will be sent a reminder by 5 o' clock. The students are required to fill in details regarding the subjects they studied the previous night, number of hours spent studying, and mention their bed time, which has been 'fixed' at 10.30 pm. According to this schedule, they are allowed only five and a half hours of sleep in a day.
Ahead of reopening schools on September 1, School Education Minister, Anbil Mahesh Payyamozhi, said the schools must operate from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm only, and had allotted five hours for regular classes and an hour for extra class. The time restriction was put in place since students cannot wear masks for long hours. "The school was initially operating for six hours. Earlier this week, we received a message saying the school will operate from 7.45 am to 4.45 pm. It is impossible for students to wear masks for nine hours," said Priyanka*, parent of a class 10 student.
Students at the school said most of them have now switched to cloth masks as wearing N95 masks for nine hours has proven difficult. "Some even pull down the masks to their chin between classes," said a student.
Meanwhile, a few parents have opted for online classes to avoid these issues. "It is better to run physical classes for only four hours amid a pandemic. Parents are stuck between protecting their children and sending them to school," said Ganesh*, a parent.
An official from the school said they had increased working hours to cover the syllabus. "Since schools were shut for a long time, extra hours are required. Also, we are operating till 3.30 pm. The last hour is for extra class," he said.