Attendance at Delhi schools pick up on 1st weekday after opening
Schools across the Capital reported moderate attendance as several instituted resumed physical classes on Monday after more than two weeks of closure announced on account of a spike in pollution earlier this month.
Many school officials also said that attendance might dive in the coming days on account of uncertainty surrounding the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and cold weather conditions.
The Delhi government had announced closure of schools for in-person classes on December 2 on account of pollution, barely four days after schools had reopened after a two-week-long pollution-induced closure. Last Friday, the Directorate of Education (DoE) allowed schools to restart in-person classes from Saturday after the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) allowed resumption of physical classes for students in classes 6 and above in Delhi-NCR.
Sudha Acharya, principal of ITL Public School, Dwarka, and the chairperson of the National Progressive School’s Conference, which has over 120 private Delhi schools as its members, said the school saw over 50% attendance in classes 6 to 8, and over 70% attendance in classes 9 and above.
Noting that many parents are keen on sending children to school but are unable to do so in the absence of bus services, Acharya said that if there are no further closures and the attendance remains good, it will resume bus service by January 1. “We have prepared the bus routes and made other preparations. Parents are also requesting that we initiate the bus service. However, with so much uncertainty and frequent closures, one is bound to tread cautiously. We might restart the bus service from next month,” said Acharya.
She said that the school will focus on the completion of practical exams for students in class 12 and covering their syllabus ahead of the CBSE term 2 exams scheduled for next year.
A number of schools said that attendance in the coming days might depend on the Covid situation and cold weather conditions.
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini, said that while the attendance in classes 9 and above was good, fewer students turned up in classes 6 to 8. “In classes 9, 10, and 11, we saw attendance between 70-80%. In classes 6 to 8, attendance was around 60-70%,” said Arora.
“A lot of queries are coming from parents who are concerned about rise in Covid cases and Omicron. The cold weather might also compel parents to continue with online classes,” said Arora.
Sukhbir Singh Yadav, president of Vice and Principals’ Association of Delhi and head of a government school in Rohini, said that attendance was low on Monday but said that it might pick up in the coming days.
“Since the board exam was taking place today, we had called students for a smaller duration. Starting from tomorrow, we will call all students in batches. Only then will we be able to give an accurate picture of the attendance and the impact that Covid might have on it,” said Yadav.