In response to the state’s propsal of reopening schools in the offline mode, parents are apprehensive and fear for thier children’s safety. They say it will pose several risks to youngsters, even though they want them to get back to regular learning. Parents said their wards must not be compelled to attend offline classes in schools, but should be allowed to continue with online classes to avoid the risk to be safe from Covid-19.
While the school education department is planning to reopen classes for Std VIII to XII in the state, parents said schools must take all necessary precautions and consider a blended learning approach. They said schools should ensure that all teaching and non-teaching staff is fully vaccinated, Covid standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be implemented and parental consent is taken. Students must also be given the option to attend classes online.
Prasad Tulaskar, a parent whose son is studying in Class X said, “Schools must start offline classes only after all teaching and non-teaching staff are fully vaccinated. Also, the state should analyse the graph of number of cases and spread of infection after 14 days of reopening local trains for fully-vaccinated people. Any decision regarding reopening schools for Classes VIII to XII should be taken after this is done.”
Manisha Patil, another parent of a Class XI student said, “Education has gone for a toss in the last two years with the online mode but, the state should not rush into reopening schools offline. On one hand, the state is warning about the possibility of a third Covid-19 wave while on the other, the state is planning to reopen offline classes. Schools should not reopen 100 per cent offline classes till this year end, there should be a blended approach.”
Arundhati Chavan, president of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) United Forum, said, “It is not going to be easy to reopen schools offline, following Covid-19 SOPs because there are over 60 to 70 students per classroom in state-board schools. How is the state planning to divide students? Do schools have additonal classroom space to call students in batches? How are schools going to ensure students maintain social distancing especially when students are going to meet their classmates after over a year and a half of online education?”
The state school education has not issued any guidelines or SOPs yet for reopening of schools offline in urban areas.
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