NEW DELHI: Despite heavy downpour, many students turned up as schools reopened for physical classes after a long hiatus. Forced to stay at home for 17 months because of Covid-19, children were excited to meet their friends and experience freedom from a feeling of being caged. The rain, however, might have played the spoilsport for many children as several schools worn a deserted look with only a few students in attendance.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority had allowed all schools to reopen from September 1 for classes IX to XII with 50 per cent strength. But many private schools have adopted a wait and watch approach in view of warnings of an impending third wave, reluctance of many parents to send their wards and vaccination of all staff not yet being completed.
Government schools in East Delhi saw a good strength of students and welcomed them with an orientation and a stretching session. “We received the order from the Directorate of Education on Monday following which the consent forms were shared online. Many parents came to the school with their wards. But due to rain, a number of students could not come on the first day. At present, we are calling only 50 per cent students. About 65 students were present today, while the total strength of these classes is approx 550,” said Anil, Principal of Sarvodya Kanya Bal Vidyalaya, Jhilmil.
Gopal Sharma, a teacher of Sarvodya Vidyalaya Co-Ed School, said, “Very few children attended school today due to rain and many said they had to turn back halfway due to heavy waterlogging and traffic. Teachers also arrived late due to heavy downpour.”
Many private schools that re-opened saw thin attendance while many others are still trying to convince the parents to give consent to send their children for physical classes. “In my school, 99 per cent of the parents don’t want to send their children as they are scared of a third wave. The remaining 10 per cent who gave their consent could not attend today due to rain. We are still trying to convince parents,” said Rachna Pant, principal of Ramjas School, RK Puram Sector 4.
Transport arrangement has become a major issue in private schools. “Many students have to travel long distances to come to school. We held a meeting with parents and are planning to arrange car pooling so that students can come to school. Many parents are still not convinced about sending their children. We invited parents to come and see the arrangements made for the safety of their children,” said Ira Khanna, Principal, DAV School.
Students who attended school were pleased to be back. “I am so happy to see my friends after a long time. I just do not want the school to close again. Offline classes are far better,” said Jasline, a government school student.
Sisodia flags concerns about knowledge gap
Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister, said, “The education of the children has started again in the classrooms properly. Despite rain the children came to school… If schools and colleges are not opened now, then an entire generation will move forward with a knowledge gap.”