Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India has issued guidelines for partial reopening of schools for students of classes 9 to 12 on a voluntary basis, last week. It mentions that students of these classes can visit their schools and take guidance from their teachers from Sep. 21, 20120, taking all preventive measures.
The permission to reopen school activities partially does not apply to schools in containment zones. All activities in the outdoor such as assemblies, sports and events are not permitted under the guidelines.
While visiting schools by students is voluntary it is subject to written consent from parents or guardians. Many parents are surprised at the announcement and expressed that they were not yet convinced to send their children to school. Vidya, mother of 15-year-old Rohit who is now in class 10 in Adyar neighbourhood in Chennai says, “I do not want to take any chance on the health of my son, even though it is his board year.”
Rohit says, “I discussed with a few friends and we feel that this permission to visit the school will help us to a great extent to clarify our doubts with teachers. If my school adopts a shift system and allows a limited number of students in every session, I would like to go to school.”
Another student, who does not wish to be named, is in class 12 in a CBSE school in Arumbakkam. She is concerned about the practical sessions in the laboratory. “The practical exams in board get us good marks. It will be good if schools call students only for practical classes. We have adapted to online classes for theory.” Two of her friends, however, are not yet ready to resume her school visits. One of them says, “We have been safe at home all these three months from June and the pandemic has not ended yet. There are chances of getting affected is still high. When all gets well, we can even have daily practical sessions close to our board exams. I would now stay away from going to school, as it is voluntary and we have the option of remote learning.”
Schools in Chennai are yet to receive any communication regarding reopening aby time sooner. A few newspapers reported that schools are likely to be reopened from Oct. 5, 2020. However, Tamil Nadu School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan has said that no decision has been taken yet in this regard and will be announced to the public when the government decides.
Ankur Chandrasekar is a 12th standard student and reports occasionally as a guest reporter.