Mixed response as regular college classes resume

“We have been waiting to get back to college. Though online classes were being conducted, it was difficult for us to understand certain concepts.

Published: 26th October 2021 07:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th October 2021 07:00 AM   |  A+A-

Teachers and staff clean classrooms at St Aloysius LP School, Mampally, in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. Schools in the state will reopen from November 1 | B P Deepu

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a gap of more than one-and-a-half years, the college campuses in the district are back to life with the resumption of classes for the first- and second-year graduate and first-year postgraduate students. Final-year graduate and postgraduate classes had resumed on October 4. Though the number of students who returned was lesser than usual, many were happy to meet their friends and teachers.

“We have been waiting to get back to college. Though online classes were being conducted, it was difficult for us to understand certain concepts. With offline classes resuming, we will be able to understand concepts in a better way,” said Anu John, a first-year graduate student. 

According to Manoj Onadan, head of the Department of History in Women’s College, Vazhuthacaud, less than 30 students in undergraduate classes and only 25 students in postgraduation turned up on the first day. Like colleges, the schools for all classes will begin offline next month, adhering to the guidelines laid down by the government. 

However, before the reopening of schools, the school authorities have started the process of taking consent from the parents. The consent form asks two questions — if the parents are willing to send their children to the school and if they need transportation facilities.

Depending on the parent’s consent, the managements are assessing the number of students who will return to schools. Based on the administrators’ instruction, many schools are likely to follow both offline and online learning. However, some parents are worried about the physical and social repercussions on their children who have been confined to their homes for the past one-and-a-half years, and others are worried about the increasing number of Covid cases.

Students arrive at University College, Thiruvananthapuram on
Monday  | B P Deepu

Many parents are also concerned about how well their children will be able to follow the Covid-appropriate behaviour in schools. “Even before the government announced reopening, a parent-teacher meeting was called by my son’s school. Parents were asked to share their opinions about the classes. About 90% of parents opted for online classes over offline. A few weeks back, a Google form was shared with parents which asked for child’s information, parents’ willingness to send their children to school and mode of transportation etc,” said Parvathy S S, a parent of a Class IV student.

Parvathy, an IT employee, said, “I am continuing with online classes for my son. I noticed that more attention is given to individual students during online classes. As parents, we are also able to know which lessons have been taught and what is left to be covered. Lessons are also available on YouTube.” 
Parvathy said she was also concerned about the lack of clarity on conducting offline classes. “Earlier, classes were conducted from 8am to 1.30pm. No instructions have been given regarding the timings or the new set of rules for the schools” she said.

Chitrakala C K, parent of a Class VIII student, said she is not willing to send her daughter to school amid the pandemic. “The school management has assured me that they will take all safety precautions. Our entire family tested positive for Covid last month. We are still recovering from it. Even after taking precautions at home, our daughter who has low immunity also got Covid and has side effects. If we send her to school, there are chances of re-infection which we cannot risk at least for six months,” said Chitrakala.

However, Sunita P, parent of a Class VI student, said, “I will be happy to see my son going back to school so that he can once again socialise with others. Online classes have made him confined to his room.” Though mixed reactions continue among parents, school managements plan to reopen institutions with necessary precautions. 

“We conducted a survey recently. Only 25% expressed their willingness to send their children to school, while others chose online classes. Due to fewer students, we aren’t even able to resume bus services. However, we will be reopening the school from next month,” said Fr Mathew Thengumpally, principal of Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School. 

“The majority are willing to send their children to schools. We have completed disinfecting classrooms and school premises. Initially, uniforms will not be mandatory for students,” said Preetha K L, principal of Government Chalai Tamil School.

Government Guidelines 

Schools can divide students into groups, sub-groups 

Classes must be arranged in such a way that a group of students is in school for three consecutive days 
over a week

Parental consent is compulsory 

All teachers and staff should be completely vaccinated, including bus drivers

Only two students can sit on a bench and only one student per bus seat

Children who become primary contacts of Covid patients should stay home

Health monitoring committees will be set up in each school and should meet weekly

Distribution of Homoeopathy tablets 
The department of Homoeopathy has started distributing homoeopathy immune booster medicine to students from Class I to Class XII. The project is being implemented by the public education department and the local-self government. The first phase of the distribution will go on till October 27. The medicine will be available at homoeopathy dispensaries, hospitals, and public health centres under the Ayush department along with 98 selected homoeopathy clinics, schools and panchayats, who will also dispatch the immunity booster.

While some parents are worried about their children complying with Covid-appropriate behaviour in schools, others are happy that students will be able to mingle with classmates and teachers once again. Colleges see fewer students attending classes 



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