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Gurgaon schools partially reopen, attendance thin on day 1

Schools in Gurgaon oversaw preparations for re-opening — social distancing circles drawn with chalk, desks and chairs moved from classrooms into corridors to avoid collisions among students, and separate gates demarcated for entry and exit.

Written by Sakshi Dayal , Ashna Butani | Gurgaon | Updated: September 22, 2020 11:37:04 am
school fee, school fee hike, covid 19 fee, coronavirus school shutdown, online classes, DPS RK Puram school fee case, school fee case court delhi, education newsschools had opened at “minimum strength” on Monday, with several reporting less than 1% attendance. (File)

At Government Model Sanskriti Senior Secondary School in Sector 43, 18 teachers arrived at 8 am on Monday, undergoing thermal scanning and maintaining social distance, to welcome back students of classes IX-XII after more than six months.

As permitted by the Union Health Ministry from September 21, students from higher grades can visit schools to resolve doubts and seek guidance from teachers on a voluntary basis. Following permission from the state government, 125 schools in Gurgaon reopened Monday.

In the past few days, teachers the school got themselves tested for Covid, as per the district health department’s directives, and oversaw preparations for re-opening — social distancing circles drawn with chalk, desks and chairs moved from classrooms into corridors to avoid collisions among students, and separate gates demarcated for entry and exit.

By the end of the day, however, only one student came to the school. “A boy came with a doubt regarding his syllabus and I helped him out. No student visited after him,” said Dr Sneh Mann, a political science teacher.

At the Government Senior Secondary School in Nathupur, principal Manju Ahlawat said “very few” students showed up. “A lot of students cannot attend because the areas where they live are under containment… Nathupur also has a lot of containment zones,” she said.

At the Government Senior Secondary School in Chakkarpur, however, footfall was higher. “We are calling students subject wise, depending on what they have doubts in. Four sessions were held with around 44 students today. As of now, we are calling 10-15 students in each class, turn by turn,” said principal Anjana Dhingra.

Officials from the district education department said schools had opened at “minimum strength” on Monday, with several reporting less than 1% attendance. “Our main focus is to motivate students who don’t have smartphones or are not responding to online lessons to come to school,” said Kalpana Singh, Deputy District Education Officer.

“Today is the first day so we had very few children in schools… If things don’t improve by next week, we may start getting in touch with parents to reassure them, and organise physical sessions if needed,” she said.

Most private schools, however, remained closed, with officials citing either reluctance by parents to send children to school or decisions on their part to stay shut as a precautionary measure.

At Heritage Xperiential Learning School, officials said an “online survey” saw only 8% of respondents willing to attend sessions.

At Shalom Hills International School, officials reached out to parents of students from grades X and XII 10 days ago to find less than 15% were willing to send children to school.

Both branches of The Shri Ram School in Gurgaon also remained closed. Director Manika Sharma said, “We are not opening now, it’s not safe for children…”

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