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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Most private schools in Delhi put off reopening; some cite logistical issues and exams, others to wait and watch

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority in an order Monday permitted schools, colleges, technical and training institutes, coaching institutes, and libraries to re-open for students from class IX and above, and issued a detailed SOP for the same.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: August 31, 2021 8:16:56 am
Delhi: Ready to reopen, say private schools, but buses won’t ply yetSchools have been directed to design their time-tables and stagger timings in such a way that a maximum of 50% students are in class at a time. Only those students written consent from their parents will return to school while online classes will continue for the rest. (Representational image)

Most private schools in the capital won’t be reopening for senior students from Wednesday as they are still working out the logistics of classroom seating, running both online and offline classes, and other infrastructure arrangements.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority in an order Monday permitted schools, colleges, technical and training institutes, coaching institutes, and libraries to re-open for students from class IX and above, and issued a detailed SOP for the same. Schools have been directed to design their time-tables and stagger timings in such a way that a maximum of 50% students are in class at a time. Only those students written consent from their parents will return to school while online classes will continue for the rest.

Schools have cited challenges of working around these various necessities.

Said Suruchi Gandhi, principal Bal Bharti Public School, Dwarka, “Social distancing means we can’t put many students together in one classroom and they’ll have to be split up in groups. This will mean that teachers will have to repeat the same lesson for different groups. We will also have to run both online and offline classes simultaneously and monitor both. This is not simple and is a lot more for teachers to handle. We are more than prepared with our infrastructure arrangements, we just need to plan for our logistics. We are in the process of collecting submissions of consent from parents for classes IX and XI. We had already done it for classes X and XII when it was allowed for some students to come to school for practical and exam-related work. At that time, we had got consent from around 45% parents.”

The principal of a prominent private school in South Delhi also cited the same challenges. “The school is already ready because we had class XII students coming for practicals. We had received a 50-50 response from parents of that grade. We’ll start testing the waters with parents of other grades this week and prepare our time-table keeping in mind the hybrid model we’ll have to follow,” the principal said.

Other schools cited different reasons for putting off re-opening for now. DAV Public School, Pushpanjali Enclave, is set to hold internal examinations in the coming fortnight and has decided to focus on these before shifting gear to offline classes.

“We were planning to conduct these exams offline for classes X and XII, but we might convert the exams to offline mode for classes IX and XI too. It might serve as preparation for their return to offline mode. We will not be re-opening for offline classes this week as we don’t disrupt the current preparations and classes happening online,” said principal Rashmi Biswal.

Meanwhile, Mount Carmel School, Dwarka has decided to adopt a more cautious route. School authorities said they are willing to wait for up to a month to assess the re-opening process and learn from others.

“We are happy for the government to take the lead and show us how they implement the SOP in their schools. We don’t want to rush and cause any confusion as of now. Wherever there has been a rush to open schools, there has soon been a rush to close them back again. India’s Covid cases are rising again, we don’t know which way it will go. We will take at least another month; we’re also working to get all our staff, including class 4 employees, vaccinated,” said Dean Michael Williams.

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