As schools set to reopen in Goa from tomorrow in Goa, lot of concerns continue to brew over safety of the students as there were cases of Covid infection amongst the students in Haryana, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, Mumbai is yet to decide on reopening. Why Goa Government decided to reopen the school is another issue but how they will tackle the situation now is a major concern.
After remaining closed for more than 6 months due to the pandemic, schools are set to resume in Goa from 21st November for the SSC and HSSC students, the start of the academic year 2020-2021 has come after almost 6 months.
Schools have begun sanitisation of the premises as they prepare for the return of students. However a lot of concern has been seen by parents over the safety of their children, who are in their crucial years of education, with respect to the risk of the corona virus infection. Part of the concern stems from how the other states handled the situation of covid-19 and the issues that occurred when schools reopened.
In Haryana, the schools were opened for the classes 9th-12th recently. Officials have confirmed that over 150 school students have been tested positive for Covid-19 from three districts of Haryana. All the students are in a stable condition and under home isolation. Of course due to this, the closure of schools has been done to control the infection.
In Andhra Pradesh, schools were opened on 2nd November and resulted with 829 teachers and 575 students in the age group of 15-16 testing positive for coronavirus.
Degree colleges in Karnataka reopened for the final year students on Tuesday amidst several precautionary measures during the pandemic. Students of many colleges were however unable to attend classes as many of them who had given swabs for COVID 19 testing did not get their results. To attend classes, students and staff are required to produce a COVID negative certificate.
Mumbai is supposed to reopen on Monday but there is still not surety of it as they’re still waiting for parents to agree. Until Thursday, Matungabased SIES School has received signed consent letters from the parents of only two of the 250 students in Class IX.
“We will take a call on November 22 on whether the school will reopen from Monday. As per government norms, 50 per cent of our teachers will be attending school, but parents are still scared to send children to school,” said Principal Kalyani Arumugam.
However in a striking contrast to this, a study by Bengaluru-based Azim Premji University across five states showed that parents are eager to send them back to school once it reopens as online education is not working out for children in public schools. Of course it’s not a secret that there are a lot of challenges faced with the ongoing online education. These could be access to education itself, lack of smart phones, sharing of smartphones by multiple children in one house, network connectivity, impartation and absorption of information, lack of training etc.
This now brings into view the options one could choose with respect to education. In Goa, current cases of the virus infection are at a low rate but the risk of it exploding is high if schools begin. One would ask for negative certificate for students and teachers but who is to pay for those? Plus, if everybody rushes to get a certificate, how will it be handled?
Of course the SOPs issued demand daily cleaning, sanitisation etc to be done by the school. Only 12 students are allowed to be in the classroom at one time, while classes begin only for the SSC and HSSC students.
All we can do is hope for safety for the students as we continue to be cautious even though the infection numbers are low. Maintain social distancing, wear masks and report any symptoms if found!