As Covid-19 claims teachers’ lives, Delhi’s classrooms altered forever
\Several educational institutions in the national capital have lost staff members to Covid-19 during the fourth wave, which has left over 2,731 dead in the past seven days alone, forcing many schools to inform students about the deaths of their teachers, while leaving institutions to contend with a vital question — how much will classrooms change in the aftermath of the pandemic?
A Delhi government school body said at least 15 teachers died of the viral infection last week alone. Among them was VK Arora (54), who taught commerce at Sarvodaya Co-ed in Mansarovar Garden. Colleagues termed his demise as a “huge loss” for the school, which has endlessly received calls from his students.
“He was the staff secretary and was very close to all his colleagues. He was such a lively person. None of us could believe it when we heard about his demise on Monday morning. All of us are in shock. We have received calls from several of his students, and it was extremely difficult to console them. I don’t know how we will face each other without crying when we return to campus once this storm is over,” said his colleague and friend Meenakshi Khantwal.
A government school in Rajouri Garden lost 35-year-old Sanskrit guest teacher Anil Kumar to the disease last week.
Anmol Kumar (15), one of his students at the school, said: “It’s so difficult to believe that he is gone. I am even more scared about the safety of my parents and other teachers now. I don’t know how many more people will die in this pandemic.”
Similarly, several teachers who work at municipal corporation-run schools in Delhi have died during the fourth wave. According to the civic body teachers’ association, at least nine teachers lost their lives last week.
Shiv Nath Prasad, the principal of a north civic body-run school in Nithari, died on Wednesday.
Suraj Dabas, a teacher at school, said: “Everything will change when we go back to school. There is so much fear and grief among the staff right now.”
The infection has claimed several lives in colleges as well.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) said at least 13 teachers have succumbed to the infection over the past few days.
Ravi Bhushan, a psychology teacher at DU’s Aryabhatta College who was in his early 30s, died at a hospital on Monday.
Manoj Sinha, the principal of the college, said: “Our college is in shock right now. We organised a virtual condolence meet in his memory on Tuesday, and even non-teaching staff members were inconsolable.”
Suraj Kumar, a final-year student at DU’s College of Vocational Studies, said he will never forget his teacher Richa Malhotra’s ever-smiling face. Malhotra, who taught history, passed away on Monday.
“She was a mother figure to me. When I came to Delhi, I was very conscious about my rural background. But she made me feel so comfortable. I was not very comfortable with English language, and she helped me a lot. I worked with her on a book club as well. It feels absolutely devastating that she has left us forever,” he said.