A contactless Republic Day parade in store for students
From contactless formations to compulsory masks during performances, Covid-19 pandemic has changed how school students will take part in the Republic Day Parade this year. The number of schools sending their entries for participation are down too, from around 30 in previous years to nine this year. Of these, two have dropped out after registering for the event in September.
As in previous years, three groups of students will perform at Rajpath this year — Delhi Tamil Education Association (DTEA) Senior Secondary schools, Mount Abu Public School and Vidya Bharti School from Rohini, and Government Girls Senior Secondary School B-2 Yamuna Vihar.
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini, said they had to hold sessions with parents to convince them that all safety norms would be followed. The buses provided by schools to commute to rehearsals were sanitized and the schools ensured that only one child sat on a bench.
“The rehearsals began in mid-November when Covid-19 was at its peak in the capital. We had to ensure no-contact formations in the choreography and all Covid norms were followed,” she said.
Arora added that the song composed by the school, which included references to the new National Education Policy and technological development was particularly significant for the 72nd Republic Day. “It was a difficult year and now the vaccine is also on its way. The performance celebrates India’s advancement in all these sectors,” she said.
Class 11 student Deepti Singh, who has performed in the 2017 and 2018 parades for the school, said the experience this year was “very different.”
“Earlier, we could sit in groups and chat, but we had to maintain distance this time. Performing in masks is also a little difficult. But we enjoyed this as we were all sitting at home since March,” she said.
Her mother Poonam Singh, 37, a homemaker, said, “She was bored at home and going to the rehearsals has made her happy. We allowed her because such opportunities do not come often and we saw that schools were following safety protocols. Students were not even sharing lunch, as a precaution.”
Additional director education (physical education) Pushpa Ratnam said, “Earlier, we used to receive entries from around 30 schools who used to be shortlisted for the first round at the Chhatrasal Stadium. This time, we received entries from nine, of which two dropped out.”
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- Jain also pointed out that in the process of disbursing the salaries the Delhi government had to reduce the budget of the Delhi government’s other departments.