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Chandigarh schools reopen to virtually empty classes, some report zero attendance

Safety measures in place, most students turn up to clear difficult portions in their lessons in class as UT administrator VP Singh Badnore urges teachers to get tested
Hindustan times, Chandigarh | By Rajanbir Singh, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON SEP 21, 2020 11:03 PM IST

Very few students chose to attend schools which reopened in the city for classes 9 to 12 after a gap of six months following the Covid-19 outbreak, with a few private institutes reporting zero attendance.

UT administrator and Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore also urged teachers to get themselves tested and asked schools to follow protocols.

As the ministry of home affairs ordered reopening of schools for senior students requiring “guidance” from teachers on various subjects, government institutes too received just 4% of the 25,000 odd students whose guardians and parents had filled the consent form allowing their wards to attend.

Around 950 students were present in 93 government schools. Attendance, as a matter of fact, was higher in periphery areas and villages of Chandigarh as compared to the city, education department officials said.

Badnore advises teachers to get tested

Meanwhile, UT administrator VP Singh Badnore advised teachers to get medically tested for covid regularly.

During the administration’s Covid-19 review meeting with medical institutes in the city on Monday, Badnore directed the UT education secretary to ensure that the Union government’s guidelines were strictly followed when students visited the school campus.

The scenario in schools

A round of the government schools revealed that no student had turned up at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS) Sector 32. Only one student attended class at GMSSS-35, two were present at GMSSS-20 and GMSSS-22 and three in GMSSS-33.

Around 19 Class 12 science students turned up at GMSSS-46.

Class 12 students from GMSSS-46, Mohammad Danish from Sector 45 and Aayush from Hallomajra, said they needed help with “difficult” portions of their subjects. “We had doubts in physics and chemistry and came to school to clear them,” they said, adding that around 10 students had been present in class.

About five Class 10 students were present at Sri Guru Gobind Singh Public School-35, while 10 students from Class 12 are expected to attend on Tuesday. Of the two students HT spoke to, Amanjot Yadav of Mohali said lessons were easy to comprehend in class while Rohit Verma of Sector 56 said he had come to clear a few points in science and social studies, after which he would revert to online classes.

Strawberry Fields High School-26 and DAV Model School-15 confirmed zero attendance.

Some institutes including St Johns High School-26 and Bhavan Vidyalaya-27 are conducting online exams and will open in the first week of October.

Parents changed their minds at last minute

A number of parents who had consented to their wards visiting school changed their minds at the last minute, said Reema Dewan, principal, Delhi Public School-40, where one child from Class 12 and four from Class 10 turned up . “Students who had come in on Monday also said they won’t come back on Wednesday as their doubts were cleared,” Dewan added.

The UT education department has directed schools to open in a phased manner. The first guidance sessions will be organised for classes 10 and 12 and then for Class 11, followed by Class 9.

Meanwhile, seven inspection teams of the UT education department visited the schools on Monday to ensure that social distancing rules were being followed. UT education secretary Sarpreet Singh Gill also visited GMSSS-15 and GMSSS-23, among other schools, to check the arrangements there.

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