Requirement for health certificate a deterrent, say parents
Parents of children studying in private schools in the city said that the requirement of obtaining a medical certificate, clearing students of any Covid-19 symptoms, was acting as a deterrent in attending classes. They said that schools could have screening mechanisms on campus to reduce the hassle of parents and students who wanted to avoid hospital visits in Covid times. The certificate is part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the education department for physical classroom sessions in schools.
Dilip Srivastava, father of a class 10 student, said that he had received a mail from his son’s school asking students to appear for special sessions ahead of the boards with the medical certificate being a pre-requisite. “Instead of expecting hundreds of students to visit different facilities to get medical certificates, why can’t schools hold screening camps on the campus itself? Parents are being compelled to visit hospitals in the middle of a pandemic for this certificate,” said Srivastava. He said that he had informed the school that the requirement of a medical clearance was a hassle. “Other parents are also facing similar challenges. For now, I am not sending my son to school,” he said.
Kavita Malik, mother of a class 10 student, who got a medical clearance done, said that some parents were unsure about the medical screening mechanism. “I got clearance done at home but there are some parents who are not confident about the certificate. They are panicking at the prospect of visiting health facilities for getting a clearance,” said Malik.
Several private schools in the city have recently initiated doubt-clearing and practical sessions this month. Voluntary visits to schools for such sessions were initiated by the Haryana government in September followed by regular classes from November 2 for students in classes 9 to 12. While most government schools saw students turning up for these sessions, private schools had largely continued with online classes. In November, the Haryana government decided to shut schools till November 30 amid a spike in Covid-19 cases among students. Government schools reopened from December 14 for students of classes 10 and 12 and from December 21 for classes 9 and 11. Classes are continuing since then.
Rashmi Malik, principal of Salwan Public School, Sector 15, said that the requirement of a medical certificate was indeed acting as a deterrent. “Parents are uncomfortable about visiting medical centres for the certificate. It’s becoming a task, especially for those parents who don’t have a family doctor. Doctors are suggesting a Covid-19 test for the certificate which is creating confusion,” said Malik.
In response to concerns from parents, the school is accepting a virtual certificate. “We have informed parents that they don’t need to get a Covid-19 negative report. We have suggested online consultation and will be accepting a virtual certificate that clears students of Covid-related symptoms,” said Malik.
Nidhi Kapoor, the principal of Euro International School, said that the school had seen 50% turnout on Monday in classes 9 to 12. She said that the strength is expected to increase in the coming days as more students get a medical certificate. “If the process is easier, more parents will be motivated to send children to school. The requirement of the document could possibly be a reason behind parent’s hesitancy,” said Kapoor.
Deputy district education officer Kalpna Singh said that the health clearance was being sought to ascertain the recent medical history of the student prior to school visits.
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