Fear and apprehensions has gripped several government school teachers in Chandigarh as the UT’s schools are preparing to reopen for classes 9-12, for guidance, from Monday.
Several government school teachers said that amid the pandemic, when Covid-19 cases are at its peak in Chandigarh, it would be difficult to ensure that all norms are adhered by the students, who will come from different areas of the city.
Swarn Singh Kamboj, President of UT Cadre Educational Employees Union said that the union members feel that it is not the right time to call students to schools. The fear is immense especially as the DEO recently died of Covid-19 and Director, Deputy Director along with other department employees too are suffering from the contagion.
“They could call us to schools and that is perfectly fine. But it is difficult to control the students who will come from different periphery areas. They come from Punjab and other neighbouring belts and we do not know what mode of transport will they use- autos or rickshaws. The issue is how a teacher will keep a check on each and every student if he is not touching the other kid or properly using the mask or keeping his or her mask upto the chin. You know children are naughty and they may even start playing with the masks. Just after the classes end, how will teachers ensure distancing? It is a catch- 22 situation as the department is also helpless as they say that these are the orders of the Ministry,” he said.
Kamboj added, “Moreover, there is another difficulty that those who used to come by autorickshaws, would come together bundled up and that is not the situation now. There is a pandemic situation today and that can spread if a kid even coughs or sneezes. My daughter is also in Class XI and I refused to give consent for it because the environment at the moment is not safe.”
Another government school teacher, on the condition of anonymity, said that if consultation on phone was difficult, then a set of five students be called in for one session from each class.
“It is practically impossible to keep a check on each student. And you know even if for less time but students have the habit of eating each other’s tiffin or sharing what they have got to eat and how will we stop that,” he said.
DEO Alka Mehta had said that the students of classes 9 to 12, who have given consent can visit the school from September 21.
“We are going as per directions of the government. Teachers need not fear as proper plan is being prepared by the Principals. And when there will be more teachers they can supervise and monitor the kids better. Duty of teachers would be everywhere- at the entrance, near the toilets and other areas. Kids wont be allowed to stand in a group something that violates distancing,” she said.
When asked if hands of the students would be sanitized after every class, the DEO said that hand sanitizers would be made available in each class and it will be done before entering the classes.
As many as 25,000 students of 90 city government schools had given their consent to visit the schools for guidance.
Chandigarh’s government schools had called for the consent from the parents of students by September 15. The consent was sought through Google Forms prepared by the individual schools. As per the latest guidelines of MHA, recommendations for phased reopening during Unlock-4 have been provided. The SOPS for partial reopening of Schools for students of 9-12 classes on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance.
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