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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

For Delhi’s private schools, repeated closures throw spanner in efforts to reopen

🔴 Just before schools were set to re-open on November 29 after an air-pollution-induced two-week closure, ITL Public School was preparing to re-introduce school transport – only for school closure to be announced again after four days.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: December 20, 2021 2:30:17 am
The demand for reopening of schools in Maharashtra will be considered after the next 10-15 days as there is a low incidence of coronavirus, said state Health Minister Rajesh Tope.

Most private schools in Delhi reopen on Monday for classes VI and above but administrators say that repeated closures and uncertainty with the emergence of Omicron has made planning a challenge.

On Saturday, schools reopened for students of Class VI onwards with the Delhi government issuing an order shortly after the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) advised it to take an immediate decision to this effect.

Just before schools were set to re-open on November 29 after an air-pollution-induced two-week closure, ITL Public School was preparing to re-introduce school transport — only for school closure to be announced again after four days.

“We had done all the planning and reworked the bus routes to create five combined routes but before it could be implemented, schools were shut again. From Monday, we are opening for all classes above class VI, but we won’t restart bus services. We need to get back the entire transport staff to do that, and we can’t if there’s a possibility that we’ll have to close again in bit, be it because of the cold or the Omicron variant. The situation is playing havoc on our planner, we can’t plan anything. December is usually the time that we start planning for the next year,” said principal Sudha Acharya.

At Birla Vidya Niketan, with low turnout expected, the administration has made the offline class schedule more flexible. “We are prepared for 50% attendance, and the turnout anyway does not come up to that much. So, we are just going to conduct both online and offline classes and those who want to send their children to school can do so with a consent slip,” said principal Minakshi Kushwaha.

“It’s like working in the dark,” added The Indian School principal Tania Joshi. “We had a PTM on Saturday in which many parents said that it’s good we’re opening but we don’t know if they’ll really send their children because a lot of people are apprehensive. We’re not in a position to be able to offer transport either and that is also a concern for parents,” she added.

Some schools do not feel they are ready to re-open, unsure of what kind of response there will be. “I feel parents are also reluctant now. The kind of readiness that was there a couple of weeks back has reduced. We’ll wait a few days to track the situation and then maybe we’ll begin with senior classes,” said Bal Bharti Public School Dwarka principal Suruchi Gandhi.

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