Uttar Pradesh: Classroom teaching resumes for primary students
Classroom teaching for students of the primary section (classes 1 to 5) resumed in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday after nearly five months of closure of schools due to Covid-19 with attendance varying from a meagre 25% to moderate 70% on the first day.
With this, physical classes from grades 1 to 12 are now operational across the state. Students of class 9 to 12 returned to school on August 16 and those of classes 6 to 8 on August 24.
On day one, the turnout remained low due to a number of reasons. Parents were concerned about the health of their children for whom no Covid-19 vaccine has become available yet. Concern over a possible third wave in the future also appeared to have made them cautious.
Plus, a number of schools are not plying school vehicles to transport students. At St Teresa’s College in Lucknow, students reached school either with their parents or on bicycles.
“The school will provide transport from September 6 for those students whose parents ask for vehicle service,” said Geetika Kapoor, principal of St Teresa’s College in Aashiana locality of the state capital.
“Commuting daily to school will be mostly taken up by parents through their own vehicles or hired ones with minimal seating. School will provide conveyance facility after taking the consent for the same, most probably by September 6,” said Anil Agarwal, managing director of St Joseph group of institutions in Lucknow.
St Joseph group of institutions saw attendance of around 58.21% for classes 1 to 5. Parents accompanied primary section students to school in their own vehicles. Some children came on hired auto-rickshaws as well. Those staying nearby came walking with their parents.
Mala Mehra, principal of Hoerner College in the state capital, said, “All students were dropped by parents and no public transport was seen. All Covid-19 protocols were met within the campus as well as during entry and exit. Staggered timings made the task easier as the entire school didn’t come and go at the same time. Whereas 75% attendance was witnessed in pre-primary, it was 44% for the primary section. The feedback from students and parents was most positive and encouraging.”
The thrill of being back at school was palpable as the children were greeted with balloons and toffees.It was hustle and bustle at Hoerner College as the pre-primary and primary sections returned after one-and-a half years, Mehra said.
GD Goenka Public School conducted classes on the campus for grade 1-8 students on Wednesday.
“Students from grade 9 to 12 have been attending the offline classes since August 16, 2021. This essential exercise of letting students attend in-person classes in school is a step towards normalcy. Amid Covid-19, every classroom has sanitisation facilities. Students’ thermal checking on arrival and use of pulse oximeter is among the school’s standard operating procedures. Students and teachers are required to wear masks all the time. Seating arrangements in classrooms and the entry and exit of students have been planned to keep the obligatory distancing in mind,” said Raveen Pande, principal of the school. More than 45% of parents have given their consent to send their children to school, Pande said.
At City Montessori School (CMS), 12, 222 of the total 20,03 students on the rolls of class 1 to 5 were present.
“It was extremely delightful to see the students of primary section come back to schools. They were themselves very excited to be back. We are ensuring complete safety of our students by strictly following Covid protocols. The safety of students is our topmost priority,” said CMS founder Dr Jagdish Gandhi.
Justifying the state government’s decision to reopen schools, UP basic education minister Satish Chandra Dwivedi said, “As the Covid situation has eased, it was felt necessary to reopen schools in UP in a phased manner.” He said under chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s guidance, the Covid-19 situation was “well within control” and more than six crore people in the state were vaccinated. Dwivedi visited a government primary school in Makdampur. He said every school would have a nodal officer to keep a watch on the students’ health.
At several government schools, teachers accorded a warm welcome to students by applying tilak, offering laddus and garlanding them as they entered the school premises.