With fear uppermost on mind, Kunjan, a student of Class X of Government Model School, Sector 20, stepped out to go to her school after six months. Once inside the classroom, she kept sanitising her hands and books after every few minutes so that she did not contract the virus.
It was day one of schools in Chandigarh but only 950 students turned up, although 25,000 students had given consent of their parents to visit the schools.
The students were called section-wise on the first day. Staff was deployed with thermal scanners outside and sensor-based sanitising machines were installed. Proper marking was done so that the students maintained distance while entering and exiting the school. The schools had suggested that the parents should preferably drop their kids themselves.
Deepti, a student of Class X of a government school in Sector 20, said that she couldn’t understand concepts through online classes. That is why she preferred to attend school. “I have a smart phone but I could barely understand the topic through voice notes or videos,” she said.
She added, “In my section, 10 students were scheduled to come but only two of us turned up.”
Kunjan, too, found physical classes better than online classes. “Through online classes only one topic could be covered in one week and we did not understand anything through voice notes or reference videos. I had a problem in mathematics,” she said.
Principals of different schools said that one reason for thin attendance was that students were asked to carry with them the letter of consent given by their parents and some had given the consent by themselves.
“I feel in some cases students had given the consent themselves and not through parents but when we had asked them to carry the letter along, not many came forward,” one principal said, requesting anonymity.
The education department said that they are hopeful that the number of students will increase in the coming days.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had allowed partial reopening of schools for students of classes IX to XII for taking guidance from their teachers.
The department said that before the schools were to reopen on Monday, all school buildings were sanitised by Municipal Corporation and also two-day training was imparted to class IV staff of all government schools to undertake sanitisation process in schools. Fumigation machines were provided to the schools.
Instructions were issued to all the schools clarifying that in the first phase of partial re-opening, the students of board classes, that is classes XII and X, would be called, which would be followed by the students of Class XI, and the last phase would involve calling the students of Class IX.
On Monday, the students were called in two sessions of two hours each, with a gap of one-and-a-half hour between the two sessions.
Principals and heads were directed to ensure that not more than 15 students were seated in a single classroom, and this number be restricted to 10 in case the size of classroom is small. In government high schools, students of classes IX and X were allowed to take guidance from the teachers.
As many as seven inspection teams, headed by senior officers of the department, have been put on duty to inspect the schools to ensure that all the instructions issued by MHA, MOHFW and the department are being followed by the schools. After visiting the schools on Monday, it was reported that sanitisation of school buildings, 50% attendance of staff and thermal scanning of staff at entry gate, availability of sanitizers, downloading of Aarogya setu by teachers was done.
Some schools were also inspected by Rakesh Kumar Popli, Director School Education.
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