With most state governments working towards opening of schools, The Morning Standard spoke to a cross-section of students, educators as well as parents on how they view the schools reopening amid the scare of third wave. The answers that came gave a mixed bag of opinion.
SYED SHAMEEM ANWAR, PARENT, MINTO ROAD, NEW DELHI
Online classes should continue at least till December 21, as there is hype of the third wave, and we should not take the risk. It would not be easy for schools to run classes... how they will manage social distancing in a class room with a capacity of 40 students? However, classes for 10, 12 students may be started on rotational basis twice or thrice a week as boards are important for them.
PRAJODH RAJAN, CO-FOUNDER & GROUP CEO, LIGHTHOUSE LEARNING
The Delhi government’s decision to seek feedback from teachers, parents, students, principals, will give a clearer picture on what parents and children think of the physical school resumption process. Schools should adhere to government guidelines and SOPs as and when the physical resumption of schools is initiated to make sure that the safety of children and staff is not hampered.
MADHUSHREE DASGUPTA, EDUCATIONIST, IP EXTENSION, DELHI
As a tutor, I take one-on-one online classes, but find it quite difficult with students up to Class 8. I see children getting more stubborn, absent-minded, making many mistakes. In Maths, they do the correct calculations, but make mistakes while writing the numbers down, repeatedly. They are also losing out on sports and extra-curricular activities. Yet, if the third wave is going to affect the children in August- September, it is not the right time to open the school.
KAMAL PRUTHI, ACADEMIC CONSULTANT
They say, after a divorce one should wait for some time to get into a new relationship. Children have been divorced from the school buildings since 1.5 years and are doing well, they have found their ways. Schools have very successfully adapted to online teaching. Even if schools open, 50-80 per cent parents will not send their kids. It might also be an open invitation to the third wave, and it will be even more painful to see kids dying.
BHANU PRATAP SINGH, PARENT, KALKAJI, NEW DELHI
Young children who have not seen the school yet and are taking online classes will not to learn, share and care. No physical activity is leading to obesity and other associated ailments. Recently, AIIMS found it extremely difficult to recruit naive children for their Covid vaccine study. Almost 80-90 per cent children were found to be exposed to Covid. Life has to come back to normal, which would be impossible without children going back to schools again.
PRATIKSHA, STUDENT, ARMY PUBLIC SCHOOL, NOIDA
The environment that one gets in school cannot be replicated in online teaching. The thoughts that the teacher is invigilating, submission must be made on time and that unfair means are difficult to use in school forces a child to actually study — all of this is missing in online teaching. The government has permitted offices and workshops to open, then why is there a cap on education? Agreed, students have not yet been vaccinated but since most teachers are, the risk is reduced. Waiting for approximately 250 million school students to get vaccinated would waste precious time.
ANNIE WILLIAMS, PRINCIPAL, MODERN SCHOOL, GREATER NOIDA
It is high time that the schools be reopened now. However, teaching should now be a blend of online and offline classes. Students should be called to school a few days a week to attend physical classes, and all the SOPs should be followed to protect them. Staying at home for such a long time has affected the mental and emotional health of children. I suggest that parents and other elders at home get vaccinated so that there is no chance of them passing on the infection to kids. Also, kids should be given a balanced diet so that their immunity is further strengthened.
SUMEET MEHTA, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, LEAD EDTECH PLATFORM
Reopening of schools, at any level, will require a clear road map that takes into account the health and safety of both students and teachers, leaving no room for complacency. It is important to adhere to guidelines such as accelerating double dose vaccination for teachers and school staff and fasttracking clearance for globally approved vaccines for students over 12 years of age. A district-wise school re-opening should be recommended along with strict implementation of all safety protocols. To empower schools to adhere to these guidelines, a special grant from the government is necessary.
VANSHIKA CHAWLA, STUDENT, GD GOENKA SCHOOL, MODEL TOWN, NEW DELHI
Online education is not as effective as it was intended to be. Due to the lack of face-to-face communication, students have been facing social isolation; they struggle to feel motivated and focused,. Online education might affect the quality of future professionals and employees. With the increase in the seropositivity rate among children and adults, I think it’s safe to reopen schools with all required precautions. We have to agree to the fact that the pandemic is here to stay. Waiting for a ‘no case scenario’ to return to normalcy can have serious repercussions.