NEW DELHI: With the number of coronavirus cases rising in the country, several parents want schools to not reopen soon and have suggested that academic loss if any can be reduced by curtailing the summer vacation.
Several schools, which are already offering classes through digital modes of learning, say a decision in this regard will be taken only after March 31 once a review of the situation is done and also if the lockdown is curtailed.
According to a survey by online platform Localcircles.com, 81 per cent parents are in favour of schools being shut through May and reopening on June 1.
Over 10,000 parents were interviewed for the survey. "The way cases are rising, I believe even if the lockdowns are eased, schools should not reopen for at least a month. Kids are very sensitive and their safety should be of utmost concern," Ritvik Ahuja, an architect by profession, told PTI.
Another parent PK Shukla, said, "Schools are already conducting online sessions, assignments are being done online. I am sure with technology at hand, lot can be managed so there is not going to be much academic loss."
Echoing similar concern, Shweta Babber, an IT professional said, "The loss of the number of days in the academic calendar can be made up by not giving any summer vacation this year."
Rashi Kuldeep, who is admission counsellor at a private school in Gurgaon, said, "We have not suspended any academic activity, we have just moved it online. Even for admissions that were supposed to happen in the new session, all of that is going on online. But as a parent, I believe the schools should continue to remain closed till the situation is completely under control."
The classes and examination have been suspended in all schools till March 31 amid the coronavirus outbreak. Jawahar Navodya Vidyalayas (JNVs) across the country have already announced advanced summer break and will reopen on May 22.
The Delhi government has called a meeting on March 26 to discuss measures that can be taken if need arises to keep schools closed after March 31 in view of the COVID-19 situation.
According to a senior official of the Directorate of Education (DoE), incase schools need to be closed further, we need to have an alternate plan so that academic loss of students can be minimised. "With the kind of situation around, if need arises, of course this step will be taken. We will review the situation after March 31 and also see if the lockdown is lifted," said Principal of a school in Mayur Vihar, who did not wish to be identified.
Neena Kaul, Principal, Heritage Xperiential Learning School, told PTI, "as an educational institution it is our responsibility to work with all our stakeholders to ensure the safety of our children and staff as well as the continuity of our students' learning. We understand and are sensitive towards the request of the parent community on the change in summer holiday schedule."
"We are awaiting necessary directives from the government and will take action accordingly. During the break, we have advised parents, teachers and other staff to avoid making any travel plans until we have more information on the summer holiday schedule," she added.
A representative of a private school chain with schools in Gurgaon and Noida said, "As of now no decision can be taken unilaterally. The government is assessing the situation and we are following the directives. The CBSE will issue instructions in this regard after March 31. Students safety is of priority for us, for parents as well as the government."
Coronavirus cases crossed 500 and one more death from the infection reported taking the toll to 10, as the Centre on Tuesday asked the states and union territories to clamp curfew wherever necessary in the wake of people defying lockdown orders in several parts of the country.
As 32 states and union territories announced complete lockdown till March 31 to deal with the pandemic, authorities are taking a serious view of people continuing to venture out despite the lockdown considering that the coming days and weeks are going to be extremely crucial to contain the spread of the infection.