Few attend in-person lessons as schools reopen after break in Delhi
A number of private schools reopened on Monday for students below Class 9 for the first time in nearly 19 months but attendance remained low as several parents were wary of sending their children to attend offline sessions.
While the Delhi government had permitted schools in the national capital to restart physical sessions for students in all classes from November 1, many schools put off the reopening on account of Diwali break.
Laksh Vir Sehgal, principal of Bal Bharati Public School on Ganga Ram Hospital Marg, said that a large number of students had not turned up on the first day of school reopening. “We had received consent from around 35% parents but for the first day, the attendance was less. Only around 15-20% of children were present today,” said Sehgal.
He added that the attendance was expected to improve in the coming days since more children were likely to join after the Chhath festival that falls on Wednesday. “The attendance was less possibly because it’s only the first day of reopening. Another festival is also coming up on November 10 due to which students might have stayed away. Another reason could be that we have not been able to provide a transport facility as of now,” said Sehgal.
The school is collecting fresh details from students and will be redoing routes based on the strength of students interested in availing the bus facility.
The school is following a blended learning model and will utilise the first few days to familiarise students with their teachers and fellow classmates. “Students have come to the school after so long. Some of them will be meeting their teachers in person for the first time. The focus will be on interactions so that teachers can know students better and understand their learning gaps. If there are any deficiencies, we will work towards fulfilling them,” said Sehgal.
Sudha Acharya, the chairperson of the National Progressive School Conference (NPSC) which has 122 Delhi schools under its umbrella, including Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Bal Bharati Public School, Springdales School, Sanskriti School, Delhi Public Schools, Ahlcon International School, and Amity International School, said that a number of schools had reopened for children in all classes.
“Children are back in schools after a long time and were visibly happy to meet their teachers and friends. We are all very happy to have our students back. In my school, we saw around 50% students in all grades including nursery,” said Acharya, principal of ITL Public School, Dwarka.
The school conducted activities such as music, dance, and yoga to welcome students. A set of parents from each class was also called to visit the school and survey the premises.
Sanya Mehta, a Class 4 student at the school, said that she had been eagerly waiting to visit the school for the past one and a half years and was happy to meet her friends on Monday. “Though around 10-15 students had come today, I had a lot of fun. I met my old friends and made a new one as well. We only took part in activities and I felt very happy,” said nine-year-old Mehta, who will be visiting school once a week, as per the roster created by the school for different sections.
Nidhi Mehta, whose daughter went to school on Monday for the first time since the pandemic started, said that she was slightly hesitant though her daughter was keen on going to school. Mehta said that she was satisfied with the implementation of Covid protocols at the school. “My daughter was persistent and since transportation was not a problem for us, we were able to send her to school,” said Mehta.
She said that other parents might have been reluctant in sending children to school due to concerns around transportation.
Schools that did not reopen today will be doing so gradually in the coming week.
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini, said that her school will reopen for in-person classes on Thursday after the Chhath festival.
Some schools, that are yet to reopen for children in younger grades, are still continuing with practical exams for students in classes 9 to 12.