Delhi schools prohibit some activities, attendance drops

Attendance has begun falling amid growing concerns that the worsening air quality can impact the health of children, the administrators of several schools have said, barely a fortnight after children began in-person learning after a gap of over one-and-a-half years
PM2.5 pollutants, which are now over five times the safe limit, can penetrate deep into the lungs and lead to lasting health damage. (Raj K Raj/HT)
PM2.5 pollutants, which are now over five times the safe limit, can penetrate deep into the lungs and lead to lasting health damage. (Raj K Raj/HT)
Updated on Nov 13, 2021 06:27 AM IST
Copy Link
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Attendance has begun falling amid growing concerns that the worsening air quality can impact the health of children, the administrators of several schools have said, barely a fortnight after children began in-person learning after a gap of over one-and-a-half years.

Children are among the most vulnerable to air pollution, which is at its worst – the air quality index was at 471 at 3pm and the concentrations of poisonous PM2.5 particulate matter has been above the “emergency” threshold of 300 micrograms per cubic metre of air since 1am on Friday. PM2.5 pollutants, which are now over five times the safe limit, can penetrate deep into the lungs and lead to lasting health damage.

Parents are now worried students will be more vulnerable to respiratory diseases. “Parents in Delhi are facing two kinds of dilemma. First are existing concerns of Covid-19 infection and now it is the severe air quality. Many schools are still holding unit tests and parents are forced to send their children to school despite not wanting to. Many children have asthma, allergies, or even allergic bronchitis which worsens during the pollution season. Going to school in such a scenario is harmful to their health but there is little that parents can do,” said Aprajita Gautam, president of the Delhi Parents’ Association.

A Commission for Air Quality Management(CAQM) sub-committee, after a meeting on Friday, advised citizens to limit outdoor activities and exposure.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority, which issues guidelines pertaining to Covid-19, has encouraged schools to continue with online learning. Several schools said they are working on reducing the number of classes and in-person lessons till the pollution levels are in control.

“We had resumed in-person classes only for classes 9 to 12 so far and classes 6 to 8 will start on Monday. Even in middle school, less than 50% of the parents agreed to send their children to school due to several factors including pollution. While deciding on reopening, we had kept various factors in mind including the pollution levels and the Covid-19 situation after Diwali,” said Madhulika Sen, senior adviser at Tagore International School, where several parents approach school authorities thanking them for not reopening completely.

The school is planning to reopen for nursery to class 5 in January and is holding staggered in-person only for the middle school and senior section.

School administrators said they have limited some activities but closing schools may not be on the radar for now. “We have reduced physical activities such as yoga and others in our playground. But when children have come back to school after nearly 20 months, it would not be prudent to close schools and send them back home. We are not planning on closing schools for now because addressing the learning gap is extremely important right now,” said Sudha Acharya, the chairperson of the National Progressive Schools’ Conference which has over 120 top Delhi schools under it. Schools have reduced the duration for which students would have to stay on school premises, she added.

Laksh Vir Sehgal, principal of Bal Bharati Public School, GRH Marg, said, “The attendance in classes 4 and 5 is around 20-25%. The dip in air quality affects the health of children and in the previous years too, if the pollution levels increased, the attendance would decrease. This time around the attendance is low across all classes and the pollution levels are one of the reasons among it along with Covid-19 concerns. Since schools are working for a shorter period of time, there are no outdoor activities and we are ensuring that students say in the classrooms.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Kainat Sarfaraz covers education for Hindustan Times in Delhi. She also takes keen interest in reading and writing on the intersections of gender and other identities.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • HT Image

    Illegal encroachments removed in Daria village

    The Chandigarh estate department on Thursday removed illegal constructions outside the lal dora during a special anti-encroachment drive in Daria village. “Under construction foundations of new buildings, two new houses which were being built and a warehouse were demolished by the team,” said a UT official. “Team have also been deployed to informs the department if any other encroachments come up here,” said the official.

  • pre-monsoon cleaning work of a nullah in Kalyan Dombivli being carried out. KDMC says it has completed 30% of the work on big nullahs. (HT PHOTO)

    Pre-monsoon cleaning work of nullahs to be completed by May 31, says Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation

    The Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation has said that the pre-monsoon cleaning work that it has initiated since last week for big nullahs, would be completed by May 31 Residents, however, are sceptical of this claim. As per the KDMC, up to 30% cleaning of big nullahs has been completed. There are a total of 97 big nullahs in the KDMC limits that cover a distance of 95km.

  • As per the state health department, 201 patients were discharged on Thursday in Maharashtra taking the total to 7,732,282 in the state. The recovery rate in the state is 98.10%. (HT FILE PHOTO)

    Pune district reports 37 new Covid cases on Thursday

    Pune district on Thursday reported 37 more cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, as per the state health authorities. Pune Municipal Corporation reported 26 new cases and the total is 680,933 Covid cases and 9,713 deaths till Thursday. Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation added five more cases to its total of 347,714 cases and 3,627 deaths due to Covid. In Pune district, there are 1,454,337 Covid cases. Of this, 1,433,476 patients have recovered.

  • Darshan Jungari being felicitated by senior police inspector Deepak Chavan of Matunga police station on Thursday. HT Photo

    ITI student stabbed by thief who he chased and caught

    A 21-year-old student of the Industrial Training Institute at Agripada was seriously injured after he chased a thief on bike, who was allegedly fleeing with valuables stolen from a wedding hall in Dadar, and the thief stabbed him on being caught. Darshan Jungari, who stays in BEST Colony at Five Gardens in Matunga, was returning home after some personal work on Wednesday.

  • Shanti Nagar Police in Bhiwandi arrested Nayab Tehsildar wanted in Mumbai Vadodara Expressway project fraud case arrested. All 18 in the case have now been arrested. (HT FILE PHOTO)

    Nayab Tehsildar wanted in Mumbai Vadodara Expressway project fraud case arrested

    Ten days after 17 persons were arrested for cheating in the Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway project, the Nayab Tehsildar, Vithhal Gosawi, was arrested by Shanti Nagar Police on Wednesday night. The group had created fake farmers to get a compensation of 11.66Cr. Gosawi was sent to police custody up to May 23. The Shanti Nagar Police in Bhiwandi have booked 18 persons including Gosawi and his female friend, and have now arrested all the 18.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 19, 2022