New Delhi:

As the number of Covid cases is declining, several states have opened schools for some of the classes with restrictions. On Monday, schools in Delhi opened for students of classes 10 and 12 outside containment zones after remaining shut for over 10 months. To contain the spread of coronavirus, schools have adopted several measures like staggered timing, reduced attendance in classes, CCTV cameras to monitor social distancing, and sanitization of classrooms.

Dr Kavita Nagpal, Principal, Orchids-The International School, Masjid Bunder, Mumbai, told The Sunday Guardian: “For students appearing for their board examinations, it is necessary to give them the attention required for written practice and the one-on-one interaction plays an important role. Face-to-face classes help in the development of the students, clear their doubts, instil confidence in their progress, and make them prepared for what’s outside the school environment, with constant support from their teachers and parents.”

“We are following all protocols mentioned by the government such as temperature checks and sanitization. All the staff members will undergo the Covid-19 test before the schools reopen. The schools have implemented some other changes to maintain hygiene and social distancing. We have installed transparent shields on every desk and labelled them with the names of students, so each of them will sit at their designated desks. Along with that, we have also modified our water taps to foot-taps, such that students won’t be touching the taps with their hands, reducing the risk of infection. Sign-boards and arrows have been installed to ensure that discipline is maintained in terms of social distancing, thereby ensuring the safety of our students, teachers, and their families. Higher-grade students are mature enough to understand the sensitivity and importance of taking all necessary precautions. However, since the situation is very unpredictable, it will be too soon to comment on whether the cases will increase or they will go down considering the vaccination drive that has also started. In any case, we will not let our guard down,” Dr Nagpal said.

As parents are also worried about this, several school officials told The Sunday Guardian that it is a good move to reopen schools for the higher grades because they cannot compromise with their growth and development by simply continuing online.

Dr Madhav Deo Saraswat, Principal of The Scindia School, Gwalior, told The Sunday Guardian: “If proper care is taken and everyone wears their masks and maintains social distancing, I do not see a rise in cases. Just like any other disease, this too will find carriers. However, ours is a residential school so the teachers and students are both on-campus 24/7. We have even brought our support staff inside the campus. We will control the number of people from outside entering the campus, in addition to all the stringent safety protocols the school has put in place, taking utmost protection, and keeping all on campus safe. In other words, a safe bubble is being created and we are optimistic about keeping Covid19 at bay.”

Dr Saraswat also said that his school has implemented a stringent safety protocol to ensure complete protection of students.

Alka Kapur, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi told The Sunday Guardian: “I respect the decision of the government and it will help the students to prepare for their upcoming board examinations. Also, there are a number of steps that the school authorities will take to ensure that the students stay safe from infection. The safest way for the students to commute to school would be via the private vehicles of their parents/guardians. At MPS, the classes will be conducted in a staggered manner. Blended learning–with the help of webcams, speakers, and microphones, supported by a strong network – would also play a major role in this, as the students can learn via a balanced combination of online and offline modes. Also, the installation of thermal scanners has been placed at all the entry points to ensure that any student or staff, who is showing signs of sickness, could be isolated and treated as quickly as possible. Moreover, as officials have also said, the consent of the parents is important to send their child to the school without it, we won’t be proceeding further with the offline mode. Hence, have arranged the blended mode of learning. The proper timetable will be prepared which will be approved from the Education ministry.”