Updated: October 4, 2021 5:27:44 pm
As schools in Maharashtra reopened on Monday after a long break owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a mixed response in Pune, where students of classes 8 to 12 were allowed to return to classes.
As the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) did not issue orders until Saturday evening, many schools were left with very little time to plan for reopening and go through procedures such as receiving mandatory Covid-negative test reports from teachers.
However, several schools in the city opened up classrooms and welcomed students with great enthusiasm. At the Rajiv Gandhi E-Learning School, teachers stood with flowers and placards to celebrate the first day of reopening as nearly 70 per cent of the parents had consented to send their children for classroom learning.
Excited students were seen chattering and cheering as the bell rang to welcome them back. Brothers Abhishek and Yash Sanjay Karandikar, who are in class 8 and 10 respectively, said the best part of returning to school was not having to fight over the lone smartphone to attend online classes. “It was a task to juggle our class schedules since we had one phone between us for online classes. Also, it feels so good to be back, meet our friends, teachers. We were so excited, we packed our schoolbags two days ago and were just waiting,” said Yash.
Parents, also joyful, lined outside the gates taking pictures as their kids returned to school after months. Reshma Kamble, who had come to leave her elder daughter for classes, said her younger one who is in class 9 begins school Tuesday. “She wanted to come too, just to see how school reopening looks like. It is such a relief. Actually, online learning is not only tough to follow but kids are distracted, we never know if they are actually studying. In classrooms, teachers can see them and students are alert too. Many families did not have smartphones so kids were missing out on classes, some mothers of young girls left jobs since it was not safe to keep girls alone at home,” she said.
At nearby Muktangan School too, classes resumed for class 11 and 12. Friends Saloni Shinde and Rama Sathe, both class 12 students, turned up for practicals on Monday, a day earlier than their schedule as per the timetable. The students who missed attending junior college last year owing to lockdown were so excited that they had not even checked the timetable.
Dr Swati Nikam, in-charge of the junior college, said nearly 70 per cent of consent letters have already been received. “Currently we are running a blended mode of online and offline classes since many students have returned to native towns and in some cases, parents are still scared. But the large majority wants to be back on campus. Currently, all teachers who are double vaccinated are taking physical classes while RT-PCR test reports are awaited for others,” she said.
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