‘Some COVID-19 guidelines issued by govt. impractical’
Physical classes for primary school students will begin next week, a decision welcomed by many. But, concerns over restarting schools and its modalities remain.
Mullahalli Suri, president, Parents’ Association, said given the recent development that Covaxin vaccine is being cleared for children, it may have been prudent to wait, get the children vaccinated before restarting physical classes. “These are young children and it may be tough to make them comply with COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour (CAB). Given that 20 months are already lost, waiting for a few more months would not have been an issue,” he said.
Given that schools restarting is a reality now, he said government guidelines that only doubly vaccinated teachers will be allowed in classrooms was insufficient. “We prefer all teaching and non-teaching staff to be tested for COVID-19 and only those who report negative must be allowed to work,” he suggested.
Schools welcome move
However, school managements have welcomed the move to restart physical classes, arguing that it was the need of the hour. “Younger kids need to be back in school as they have been socially isolated since March 2020. The psychological impact of this has manifested in many kids and unfortunately will continue to do so over the next few years,” said Shweta Sastri, MD, Canadian International School.
D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools, welcomed the decision, but termed some of the guidelines issued by the government “impractical”. “The guidelines stipulate only 50% of students can be allowed in a classroom and the Minister has suggested a hybrid model of online and offline teaching, with two batches of students attending physical classes on alternate days. We have tried this with higher classes and have failed. Neither can teachers handle online and offline classes simultaneously, nor can we teach the same portion twice and afford to cover the syllabus. Students will have to come to schools mandatorily,” he said.
However, not all school managements hold that opinion. Aloysius D’Mello, principal, Greenwood High International School, said: “The rotationary class days may help in pragmatically balancing online and offline learning while reducing infection risks”.