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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Delhi: Some have second thoughts about sending kids to school

Schools had opened for these students, for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, on November 1 but had to close after two weeks due to pollution.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: December 2, 2021 8:34:04 am
Delhi: Some have second thoughts about sending kids to schoolWinter break for pre-primary and primary classes shall be observed from January 1-15, 2022. File.

Delhi schools are seeing huge variations in turnout among the primary and middle school children after reopening, with some schools also seeing a significant difference in the number of parents who had initially given their consent for offline classes and the actual turnout.

Schools had opened for these students, for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, on November 1 but had to close after two weeks due to pollution. They were allowed to reopen for all classes on Monday, while elsewhere, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation announced Tuesday that schools in the city would defer reopening for classes I to VII from December 1 to December 15 as a cautionary measure against emergence of the Omicron variant.

At Mount Abu Public School Rohini, the number of students turning up for classes this week is half the number of parents who gave consent to attend offline classes. “Wednesday was the third day after reopening and the attendance has been increasing over the week but I can definitely sense the apprehension among parents. Nobody has been vocal about their fear, but it is reflected in the attendance. We had consent of parents of 70% of the students but the attendance is at 30-35%,” said principal Jyoti Arora.

Tagore International School Vasant Vihar has not opened yet for primary school students but has opened for middle school students, classes IX and XI. According to Senior Education Advisor Madhulika Sen, in classes VI to VIII, only some 25% parents had given consent to send children to school but numbers in the classroom have been much lower. “There are a number of reasons, I think. We are not offering transport and pollution is a grave concern. And now there are fears regarding the new variant. But in a positive sense, it can be seen as an indicator that parents are happy with the online education we are offering,” she said.

At Bal Bharati Public School Dwarka, which has not yet opened for primary and middle school students, authorities are reconsidering reopening plans. “We were completely ready for reopening before there was another closure due to pollution. That time we received consent from 45%, but we believe that we should redo consent-gathering process because of changed circumstances. We are seeking their suggestions, and a few parents have verbally communicated apprehensions,” said principal Suruchi Gandhi.

However, some schools say they are seeing high turnout and parents have not shown reluctance. Sudha Acharya , principal ITL Public School, said they saw an average of 70% attendance in Nursery and KG on Wednesday. “On Monday we had 50% attendance and we had sent thank you notes to parents for trusting us and sent videos of activities taking place… We are motivated by the attendance. I don’t think parents have been gripped by fears over Omicron,” she said.

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