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Reopening Delhi schools: Schools willing, but some parents hesitant

Sisodia on Wednesday had invited parents, students, teachers, and principals to send their suggestions via email to the government on whether schools and colleges should re-open and in what manner.

Singla said that school timings will remain the same (8 am to 2 pm) and parents will have to provide written consent before sending their children to schools. (Representational)

A day after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had sought suggestions on reopening schools in the capital, principals said they are ready to open their doors to students, but several parents remained hesitant.

Sisodia on Wednesday had invited parents, students, teachers, and principals to send their suggestions via email to the government on whether schools and colleges should re-open and in what manner.

When schools in Delhi had reopened in a phased manner for senior students in January, children could only attend classes with written consent from parents.

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Among the suggestions from parents, a few emphasised on the need for vaccines before re-opening. “It is a humble request not to open schools now. We all know the situation is under control. However, as a parent, I am apprehensive of sending my ward to school till he is vaccinated,” read a submission from one parent.

Another submission read: “What guarantee can schools offer that the children will not be exposed to the virus. We should postpone the opening of the schools and continue with the online mode until the third wave is behind us and there is some clarity about vaccination for children.”

However, school administrators are of the view that the schools can re-open even if some parents are wary of sending their children.

“I think it is fine to reopen with the consent of 25-30% of parents. It will provide an opportunity to those who need it the most. In any case, online learning will continue… If we look at learning losses and the social development of children, this is the right time to open with a staggered approach. As for details of which classes it would be safe to re-open for, we look to virologists, doctors, and researchers for an informed decision,” said Jyoti Arora, principal, Mount Abu Public School Rohini.

Other administrators also said assessment must take place in school this year.

“When we opened last time in January, only a few were willing initially. But it caught on after a while and 99% of senior students wrote their exams from school. This time, I am certain that many parents will be confident after the first step… Assessments should be mandatory in schools so that teachers know where their students stand. While academics can continue as it is happening, I think younger children should also come to schools for interactions with teachers over assignments for psycho-social development. We should look at a ‘lockdown come, lockdown go’ arrangement with strict monitoring of the situation with Covid cases,” said Minakshi Kushwaha, principal, Birla Vidya Niketan.

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