While sanitisation measures have been stepped up and physical distancing norms are being worked out, school authorities are worried about the distribution of workforce and online-offline distribution of students because only some parents have agreed to send pupils to school.
Parents said that many will still be skeptical to send their children to schools. “Parents are worried about sending their children until there is a vaccine or the Covid-19 cases go down substantially. They will not want to take any risks when it comes to the health of the children. The government should explore flexible options of online and offline learning,” said Anu
Gaikwad said care will be taken to ensure that all safety protocols as suggested by the central and the state government shall be followed while reopening schools. “The government will ensure that appropriate measures are in place for the safety of students and teachers in schools,” Gaikwad added. On Friday, HT had reported the government’s plans of conducting Class 10 and 12 board exams in the month of May.
Anvit Pathak, director of Millenium School, said only the parents of 300 students from Classes IX to XII, out of a total strength of more than 500, have filled out the online consent forms.
“I think it’s going to be a dynamic situation with the numbers fluctuating week by week. So, we have decided to start classes from IX to XII for three hours a day on alternate days. We will begin with class XII, then X, then class X1 and then IX, sequentially, with a little gap in-between for students and staff to adjust processes. There will be a sizeable number of students who will opt for online classes and we have to account for that as well. Since our staff is limited for online and offline classes, we have to work out the odds,” he said.
Dr Gulshan Gidwani, principal, St Mira’s College, pointed out to problems beyond classroom lectures once students are on campus.
“Our junior college strength is 120 students per class, so we have decided to allow 40 students at a time per classroom. Even if that happens, there will be more than 500 students on campus. It takes two minutes per student to check temperature, sanitise and make entry in logbook. We have assigned six staffers specially for this and created six different spots at entry point, but even then, each staff will spend 2 hours in just this exercise every day. Also, our teaching staff is limited. Managing the academic schedule so that only one third of students come in at a time as well as completing syllabus is going to be challenging,” she said.
“A majority of parents have not given consent and that’s why as of now, school is not reopening. Currently, school vacations are ongoing, maybe after that if consent comes in, school may reopen,” mentioned Markus Deshmukh, a spokesperson of Bishops School.
One of the solutions is to keep online classes on while the offline class is being conducted, said educationists.
As per previous SOPs, school management committees were asked to consider options like shift-wise running of schools, staggering school timings, changing seating arrangement in classrooms, disinfecting schools, not allowing crowding in buses, etc. Similarly, local administrations were asked to ensure sanitization of schools and screening of teachers and students.