BHOPAL: Days after offline classes were commenced for students of 9-12 grades, the government as well as private schools opened their gates for children studying in class 6-8 after a gap of about 17 months on Wednesday. The attendance, however, remained quite low. Strength of students was more in government schools compared to private ones.
The government had earlier reopened schools for Classes 9 to 12 in the last week of July with 50 per cent cap on attendance, but these classes were being held only on specific days a week.
On an average not more than 20% students were present on the first day of reopening of schools. The school authorities say that bus service could not begin therefore the strength was low. Schools across the state were closed in March 2020.
“Fitness of school buses expired as they remain stationed in schools for about 17 months. It could take another 4-5 days after which school buses will start operating,” secretary of Association of Unaided Schools, Babu Thomas.
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Several schools like St Joseph School, Mansarovar School in Kolar and Anand Vihar School near New Market remained closed and continued with online classes only.
Even Carmel Convent School opened to conduct practical exams for the students of class 12. Most of the schools run by missionary organizations continued with online classes only on Wednesday.
“We will decide soon on reopening of schools. There are certain issues like school transportation that need to be addressed before reopening of schools. Nevertheless, online classes are on,” said father Maria Stephen.
“All schools had made appropriate arrangements for the students. Masks are mandatory and frequent sanitization of classes and common spaces was ensured in all schools,” said vice president of Association of Unaided Schools, Viniraj Modi.
SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS: Students take blessings from Goddess Saraswati before attending their first physical class in a long time. | FP
Govt schools report better turnout: Strength of students was more in government schools compared to the private ones. Educationists believe that students of government schools do not depend on school buses hence more attendance.
Students reached Sarojini Naidu Girls Higher Secondary School with their parents' consent letter. Principal of the school, Laxmi Bhargava said that the consent letter of parents is being collected first and then students are allowed to enter school.
Principal of Naveen Kanya Higher Secondary School, Vandana Shukla said that in her school the average attendance stood at around 60%.
According to the School Education Department’s claim, cent percent teachers of government schools have been vaccinated with the first dose while about 60% have also received their second dose.
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Girls enjoy Pani Puris outside their schools on Wednesday after their classes get dismissed. | FP
Happy reunion!: Unconcerned about safety warnings given by parents, most of the students were happy. “We have met our friends after a long time. Studying in a live classroom is a totally different experience. We would prefer coming to school rather than attending classes online,” said one of the students, from Gyan Ganga International School.