100 private schools to shut, most staff to WFH
At least 100 private schools in Delhi will remain closed from Monday till April 25 with minimal support staff, the Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Schools -- an umbrella organisation of 400 private schools -- announced on Sunday when Delhi reported 25,462 fresh Covid-19 cases at a positivity rate of 29.74%.
In an advisory issued on Sunday, the committee advised work from home for all school administrations and deploying only the bare minimum staff inside schools to run the institutions.
S K Bhattacharya, president of committee, said over 100 schools so far have said that they would comply with their advisory. “We can all come together to ensure the safety of own teaching faculty and non-teaching staff by taking the decision to shift to Work From Home Mode for all staff members for the coming week till April 25 as a precautionary measure to break the chain of infection,” Bhattacharya said in the advisory.
While the new academic session continued in online mode, on April 9, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that students will not be called to school for any academic work including those slated to appear for their board exams. Last week, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) cancelled Class 10 exams and delayed Class 12 board exams in the wake of the second nationwide Covid-19 wave.
Schools that will remain closed include Bal Bharati Public School in Rohini, Mount Abu Public School, The Indian School, Apeejay School, and Birla Vidya Niketan. Several private schools said that most of the teachers were not coming to school as learning has moved online and it was mostly the administrative staff that was present on the premises.
Bal Bharati principal Geeta Gangwani said, “Teaching has gone completely online, so teachers weren’t coming to school. But administrative staff including the accounts department and support staff were coming to school for planning the current academic session. This will now be moved online. Only a section of the school will be open with strict protocols in the coming week with a handful of staff,” she said.
Jyoti Arora, principal, Mount Abu Public School, said all teaching staff was told to work from home mode last week. “We have shifted entire staff, except security, to work from home till further notification from the school,” she said.
The move comes on a day when government school teachers’ association (GSTA) has also written to deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia calling for the complete closure of schools. Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary of the association said that in the wake of CBSE cancelling Class 10 exams and delaying Class 12 exams, the physical presence of teachers in the school was not necessary.
On April 11, Sisodia said that school principals and the staff can decide among themselves on how many teachers will come to school and how many will give lessons online.
“We have been getting reports of numerous teachers testing positive for Covid in schools and the heads of schools are calling them for duty. Such orders have put the entire school staff at a high risk of exposure,” Yadav wrote in his letter to Sisodia. Hundreds of government school teachers have been deployed for Covid-19 duties across the capital for enforcing Covid-19 protocols at airports, banquet halls, helping the district administration.