In March last year, schools across the country closed their doors as the COVID-19 pandemic began in India. Since then, as lockdown restrictions were eased, some states had allowed older students to return to classrooms, albeit with a slew of restrictions in place. Now, Delhi has joined the list with Class 10 and 12 students returning after a 10 month hiatus.
Now, it must be mentioned that the reopening of schools does not mean that all students can return to the pre-pandemic lifestyle. Schools have been reopening in light of the upcoming board exams. As such, it is only for those preparing to give their Secondary and Higher Secondary exams.
"Best wishes to the students of class 10&12th who are going to visit their school today after 10 months... (though it's only for limited purpose and with covid protocols..) But still... I am glad that schools are opening in Delhi today," tweeted Delhi Education Minister and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.
As he put it a day earlier, "everyone is excited and little nervous" about having students back in classrooms. "All preparations-sanitizers, masks, social distancing measures- are in place. Good luck to all!" he added.
Schools that reopen will have to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) issued in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, including social distancing, compulsory mask wearing and sanitisation and others. However, coming to school is not mandatory, even for those who now have permission to do so.
With many parents remaining skeptical about the return, the Directorate of Education has made it clear that no student will be forced to return to classrooms at this time. That decision remains with the parents - a fact that makes it unclear what the turnout will be for Delhi schools this week.
(With inputs from agencies)