BENGALURU: After many months of online classes, Disha Panda has finally found herself getting excited for school again. Though her school has not yet announced its decision about the reopening for older students, Panda is looking forward to getting a chance to be back on premises. This comes in the wake of the central government issuing orders about the partial reopening of schools (on a voluntary basis) for students of Class 9 to 12, if they wish to seek guidance from teachers.
“This is my last year in school and I want to get back to campus. I know that going daily is not possible due to the rising Covid-positive cases, but I’m looking forward to going at least for a few days,” says the Class 12 student of Delhi Public School North. But there’s more than nostalgia riding behind this wish. Online classes have caused students to lose focus and for a Commerce student like Panda, face-to-face sessions will help with subjects like Math and Accountancy.
“We have exams coming up and with these subjects, the more you solve sums, more doubts crop up. And in person, teachers have a better idea about whether a student has understood the concept or not,” she explains. Schools are gearing up to welcome higher grade students on campus again. P Neetha Sathe, managing trustee, New Pratham Public School, says teachers will be on campus on rotational basis, with different time slots allotted to students to avoid large numbers.
“They will also have to get a letter of approval from their parents and arrive 30 minutes before their session so that we can carry out measures of sanitisation and thermal scanning,” says Sathe, adding that students will be allowed to be in campus for up to two hours.
At Stonehill International School, the groups cannot exceed 10 and pathways (entrances, corridors, and staircases) have been divided into two with floor markers for walking in a one-way system. Face masks are mandatory and handwashing stations have been set up around the school.
"There are many breaks between the online classes. For students who want to have a one-on-one discussion with the teacher at the school, appointments will be given between the online sessions," says Brian Brumsickle, the head of the school.
Parents , however, seem to be putting their faith in the online system as they prioritise the safety of children. The New Indian Express spoke to a few parents of students of Vidya Niketan and Vidyashilp Academy, and they said they haven’t yet received any intimation about reopening on September 21. Shilpa Spoorthy, whose son is in Class 9, says some teachers have created WhatsApp groups with the students to interact better about the syllabus.
"So far my son hasn’t felt the need to meet his teachers. I’m concerned about him going to school so if the need arises, I’d even be okay to sit with the teacher myself to understand a concept and explain it to my son," she says, adding that teachers are even ready to take one-on-one online classes if a child needs it.
Another parent, Dr Nishita Shetty Rao, shares that she would be okay with her son going to school only if the sessions are not held in groups. "But I don’t think it will come to that since he is managing fine with online classes," she adds.